WHITE HALL — Our teachers are working harder than ever during this pandemic, but some go above and beyond.
Rachelle Bourne, a special education instructor at White Hall Elementary, was recently named Marion County Teacher of the Year and her school celebrated it in a big way Monday.
Teachers and students gathered along the back road of their school to congratulate Bourne’s achievement.
“It’s quite humbling to be recognized for it.” said Bourne, who’s been an educator for 13 years. “I’m thankful for working at such a wonderful school.”
They celebrated as a parade of sorts, Bourne walked the road as the students lined up along the fence with handmade signs to cheer her on for the accomplishment.
“For them to take the time to make all those signs and take time out of their day to cheer me on, it was overwhelming,” Bourne said.
At the end of her parade march, Bourne was met by her niece who ran up to her with a bouquet of flowers and a hug.
“She is such a wonderful teacher,” said Nan Murray, principal of White Hall Elementary. “When it came across my email that it was time to nominate somebody for teacher of the year, I instantly thought of her.”
Just as the parade concluded, rain began to fall and the students hustled inside back to their classrooms. But Bourne’s classroom had her family waiting and a cake inside.
Bourne and her teaching don’t end once class is out. All through the year, she’s created and held trainings for other educators about virtual learning and how teachers can keep lessons engaging.
“It’s been hard to have that engagement coming through a computer,” Bourne said.
On top of her time teaching at White Hall Elementary, she also teaches as an adjunct professor of education at Fairmont State University.
“We are all so proud of her,” Murray said. “It’s just so wonderful.”
This teacher of the year award may be Bourne’s latest accolade, but far from her first. Within the last few years, she became a National Noard Certified Teacher, one of the highest certifications a teacher can obtain.
She is also a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa teacher honorary society in Marion County and serves as a member of the Disability Action Center’s board of directors.
“I assist with making sure that kids here in the school not only have opportunities, but also I work to help individuals throughout our community who have disabilities,” Bourne said.
The Disability Action Center holds everything from workforce training to programs that help individuals who have a physical or intellectual disability with learning basic life skills such as cooking. The center also offers therapy.