November 2013 Winner - Toni Buchanan:(Clarkdale)


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Meridian Star Article

By Terri Ferguson Smith

"It's all about her students."

Those are the words of Clarkdale principal Cheryl Thomas describing teacher Toni Buchanan, who was surprised earlier this month to learn that she had been chosen the Golden Apple Teacher of the Month for November. She is a 10-year veteran of Clarkdale where she teaches Agriculture and Natural Resources, I and II.

During the presentation of the Golden Apple Award, Buchanan received a Golden Apple trophy, a $300 check, a voucher for $1,000 in school supplies and she will automatically be in the running for teacher of the year, which will be announced in May.

Thomas said Buchanan is also known for holding her students to high standards.

"Her dedication is not just during the day. She spends hours after school with her students, on weekends, on holidays," Thomas said. "She also helps build character like nobody I've ever seen. She sincerely cares about every aspect of their lives. Her greatest joy is helping them look at life and what they are going to do when they make plans for their careers."

A letter nominating Buchanan for the award praised her ability to keep her students challenged.

"One of the first things I learned about Mrs. Buchanan was that if she needed help to challenge her students in an area, she would find someone with the necessary skills to teach them and help them to succeed," the letter states. "This is especially true with her students competing in District, State, and National FFA contest. She has had individuals and teams placing high in each of these contests year after year. She has one of the strongest FFA programs in Mississippi, having three state officers in recent years."

Randy Hodges, superintendent of the Lauderdale County School District, said teachers like Buchanan make a difference in the success of their students and the Golden Apple is a good way to let teachers know that their work is appreciated.

"In education we know that teachers are the difference," Hodges said. "We know that if you have a good school district it's because of a good classroom teacher."