Laurin Tew, who teaches special education language arts and reading at Mary G. Montgomery High School, has been selected as Mobile County’s Secondary Teacher of the Year.
“Thank you so much, Mobile County. I am more than honored,” Tew said after being surprised with the honor Friday by MGM principal Marlon Firle, District 1 School Commissioner Douglas Harwell, 2017 Alabama Elementary Teacher of the Year Chasity Collier of Dawes Elementary, and MCPSS Director of Communication Rena Philips. “I think more than anything, I am honored for my children. Because like I said in my paperwork, these children do not get the credit that they deserve.
“They are more than a number. They are more than a test score. They are children, and we love them and we support them and they mean the absolute world to me as an educator.”
Tew is a 14-year educator who has been at Mary G. Montgomery for four years, teaching previously at Satsuma High School and spending three years at Mobile County Public Schools’ Central Campus, where she served as a trainer in the district’s Language! initiative and an Adolescent Literacy Project coach.
“I find it difficult to find young teachers with her teaching talent, ambition and drive,” Firle said of Tew. “She has excellent rapport with her students. She shows a sincere interest in them as individuals and is consistently fair in dealing with them. She constantly searches for ways to make her teaching and interaction more interesting and more informative.”
Having earned Highly Qualified designations in special education, language arts and physical education and a M.Ed. in Special Education, Tew connects her students with the community through class projects, such as a campus beautification project this year, and through her “Tew’s Terrific Vikings” program. She has gotten personally involved to help meet the needs of some of her students, including putting together a fundraiser to help one family purchase a handicap-accessible van.
She is also coordinator of MGM’s Parent-Teacher Organization and serves as a special education teacher mentor. In the past, she has served in a variety of extracurricular capacities such as cheerleading coach, Relay For Life coordinator and senior class sponsor.
“As a friend, I am so proud of you,” Collier told Tew. “You are not only a teacher, but you mother these children when they need things at home. You’re their cheerleader — I’ve seen you at the baseball park myself, cheering them on. … So congratulations, there is nobody more deserving than you.”
Tew and Mobile County’s Elementary Teacher of the Year, Nadine Lynch of St. Elmo Elementary, will be the county’s nominees for the Alabama Teacher of the Year awards, to be announced later this spring.