Baldwin honors teachers of the year


POINT CLEAR – Teachers are the core of education said school system officials who recognized Baldwin County’s outstanding educators.

Baldwin County’s teachers of the year were honored Tuesday, Nov. 10, during a reception at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. Individual teacher of the year from all 47 schools were recognized.

Dianne Casolaro was named Baldwin County High School Teacher of the Year. Laura Ruth Hunter was recognized as Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Casolaro teaches English 9 advanced, English 11 international baccalaureate and English 12 dual enrollment at Daphne High School. Hunter is an instructional math coach at J. Larry Newton Elementary School in Fairhope.

JaNay Dawson, president of the Baldwin County Board of Education, praised the two overall winners and all the educators selected by each school.

“You are what is best of Baldwin County’s school system,” Dawson said. “You are the excellence in the classroom. You represent that by your hard work every day, the fact that you’ve been selected by your peers to represent your school as teacher of the year. You are the model for the students in your classroom, for the adults they may one day become.”

Dawson spent 38 years in education, including 21 years as a high school English teacher, before being elected to the board. She said teachers of the year for each school are nominated and elected by the faculty and principal. County teachers are then chosen by a committee that goes over all the qualifications.

“The most important thing we’re here to do tonight is to honor those of you who are so dedicated to your profession that you have been chosen by your principals and your colleagues to represent what is the best of education and what you do every day for your students in your classroom,” Dawson said.

Superintendent of Education Eddie Tyler said Baldwin County is fortunate to have strong support for education that extends from the public to the board members. He said teachers are the core of outstanding education.

“If our teachers don’t believe in that vision, we could spend millions of dollars on resources, but our teachers are the ones that apply that for our students,” Tyler said. “They are the strength and boots on the ground. For teachers, I can’t say enough about how we appreciate you. You are definitely the great ambassadors for Baldwin County schools.”

The annual recognition ceremony has been held in the spring in the past. The event for the 2019-20 school year was postponed after the COVID-19 outbreak closed schools in March.

Tyler said public support has helped the school system move forward even during the pandemic.

“We haven’t stopped educating children,” Tyler said. “We haven’t stopped buying resources. We haven’t stopped building buildings. We haven’t stopped addressing growth. We just haven’t stopped. We’re planning for the future and it’s because of the support that this great county gives education and how you value it.”

He said teachers are a key part of that support and effort.

“If we can come through what we’ve come through, with COVID and storms and financial downfalls at times. I mean, look where we are right now,” Tyler said. “We’re the best of the best and it’s because of you and for that, I thank you.”