Rutherford Weekly

March 25, 2023

Rutherford Weekly - Shelby NC

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An R-S Middle School English Language Arts teacher is the 2023-24 Teacher of the Year for the Rutherford County Schools (RCS). Jodi Bell, who teaches sixth grade, now moves on to the western regional competition to represent the RCS District. She received a check for $1,000 sponsored by Friendship GMC. R-S Middle principal Sherri Blanton said, "Mrs. Bell is a lifelong educator and the real deal. Her love and pas- sion for students and their education shines through in everything that she does. She is a team player and wants to help students reach their full potential." Bell says her inspiration to become a school teacher came from her parents, both educators in North Dakota. Her father was a school superintendent there and her mother had a career as a Learning disabilities teacher. "It was really all I knew growing up," she said. "I spent countless hours as a little girl in my mother's classroom helping her decorate and looking through all of the books that she used for teaching. Conversations around our dinner table centered a lot around education," Bell said. Born and raised in North Dakota, she graduated from Mayville State University with a Bachelor's degree in El- ementary Education. She taught fi ve years in North Da- kota before she and her husband decided to move to Hendry County, Florida. The couple lived there 29 years. While in Florida Bell earned her Master's degree in Edu- cational Leadership from the University of South Florida in Tampa. While in Florida, her husband taught AP US History at LaBelle High School and 8th grade History at LaBelle Middle School. "I spent time teaching Kindergarten, 4th grade, and then moved into school administration," Bell said. The fi nal 11 years the couple lived in Florida, Bell was the Hendry Coun- ty School District Director of Feder- al Programs. "I have had a wonderful career with so many opportunities to grow as a professional, but I really had a desire to return to my beginnings and go back to the classroom as a teacher," she said. The couple's move to North Caro- lina in 2018 seemed like the right thing to do. "It is a decision that I have been grateful to have the opportunity to make," she said. When the couple moved to Lake Lure, Bell spent two years teaching at the Lake Lure Classical Academy, but when COVID closed schools for a while, Bell took the year off to take care of her grand- children and help them with online schoolwork. In 2021,Bell contacted administrators at R-S Middle inquiring about possible job openings. "I was really fortunate to land a 6th grade ELA posi- tion," she said. At the end of this school year, Bell will have two years with R-S Middle and the RCS. As a teacher, Bell said every day has the potential to be the greatest day in the life of a teacher. "However, on the days when students show they are making progress and that they are enjoying what they are doing, I fi nd myself going home feeling really happy," Bell said. "I think every teacher works so hard to create mean- ingful, engaging lessons and when these are successful- ly implemented with their students, it is a great day," she said. Bell says the challenges of teaching in 2023 are cer- tainly different from when she fi rst began her career. There have always been students who have struggled and times when her "carefully crafted plans didn't go as planned", Bell began. "What I didn't have were the chal- lenges that various forms of technology and social media have brought to the table for our students. I also didn't have the demanding testing requirements that both stu- dents and teachers face each year. Balancing the testing requirements and the social and emotional needs of our students creates a continuous challenge for teachers," she said. As this school year comes to a close, Bell hopes her students are leaving her class as better people than when they arrived. "By saying this, I mean that I want them to gain all of the tools that they need to be good people and success- ful contributors to our community. I want my students to know that I believe in them, and that I support them as they fi nd their way through the maze of learning, rela- tionships, and decisions that are all part of being a 6th grader." Bell has a rule for her 6th graders and that is they need to be "fearless" and willing to take risks in their learning and thinking. "If any of these things helps them to become confi dent and independent in their thinking and learning, then I will feel like they have had a successful year in my class," Bell added. Bell has certainly enjoyed, along with staff and all stu- dents, the new R-S Middle school facility that opened this year. "Our classrooms are really comfortable and inviting places for students to learn. I do have to say, though, that the new facility is one of the beautiful things, but the fac- ulty, staff, and students that I have the privilege of work- ing with each day are a big part of the beauty." Bell and her husband live in Lake Lure, a place they had visited many times on vacation. They knew a long time ago they wanted to call Rutherford County home someday. Bell said when the couple's son and his family located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and began having children, she didn't want to be 14 hours away from her grandchildren. The couple enjoy Lake Lure and in their spare time kayak and enjoy the lake and hiking trails. She says she has "loved every minute of being in Rutherford County." ISSUE NO. 21 • May 25, 2023 ISSUE NO. 21 • May 25, 2023 • • • 828-248-1408 • 828-248-1408 If you're a food truck vendor and would like to share your delicious eats with our community, call us today at 704-487-0651 to reserve your spot. Stay in the know by following us at Facebook/CLEVELANDCOUNTYROCKS Food Truck Tuesdays are here at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds! 1751 E. MARION STREET, SHELBY, NC 1751 E. MARION STREET, SHELBY, NC Join each and ever y Tuesday from 4-8 pm for an evening of delicious eats, refreshing drinks, and fun. FOOD TRUCK TUESDAYS FOOD TRUCK TUESDAYS N.C. TRACTOR & FARM SUPPLY 299 Railroad Ave., Rutherfordton • 828-288-0395 Mobile: 828-429-5008 • SALES • SERVICE • PARTS IF YOU BUY ANYWHERE ELSE YOU WILL PAY TOO MUCH! IF YOU BUY ANYWHERE ELSE YOU WILL PAY TOO MUCH! PROUDLY SERVING RUTHERFORD, CLEVELAND, GASTON, LINCOLN, POLK COUNTIES AS THE AREAS HOMETOWN MASSEY FERGUSON DEALER. Great Selection Great Selection Our 31 st Year • Over 25,000 Weekly Readers Article by Jean Gordon. Photos Contributed. Every day in the classroom Every day in the classroom is a good day for this is a good day for this Teacher of the Year Teacher of the Year Jodi Bell All the Rutherford County Schools Teachers of the Year, selected from their respective schools. Ot Other Ruth therfo d rd Cou t nty Teachers of th the Year are: Cisily Murray, Carver Center; Elementary Schools- Becki McAbee, Cliffside; Sandy Helton, Ellenboro; Allison Dorsey, Harris; Jen Rock, Mt. Vernon Ruth; Holly Toney, Pinnacle; Ali High, Rutherfordton; Mignone Whitaker, Spindale; Beth Travis, Sunshine; Allison Kennedy, Forest City-Dunbar; Forrest Hunt Elementary, Kyra Bumgarner; Middle Schools- Chase, Joe Jessen; East Rutherford, Alisha Fowler. High Schools- Beth Carroll, Chase; Rhonda Hollifi eld, East Rutherford; Emily Mullins, R-S Central; Stephanie Rice; Rutherford Early College High School (REaCH) Sheila Ledford, Ru Ruth ther er e fo ford rd Opp pp pp pp ppor or o tu tuni nity ty Cen en e te ter. H a v e a s a f e a n d H a p p y M e m o r i a l D a y H a v e a s a f e a n d H a p p y M e m o r i a l D a y

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