Golden Apple Award Winner: Carolyn Merrill

Carolyn Merrill from Harleton Elementary School is this weeks Golden Apple Award winner. She runs the Star Lab and dyslexia programs at her school.  The Star Lab allows any student who needs a little extra work on a concept to use more hands on methods to learn.

"Every student learns at a different pace.   Every student learns in a different way," said Merrill.

Merrill likes to reward her students, and she calls it filling their buckets.

"We need to find out what's special about each student.   We need to make sure we zero in on what their needs are and to kind of fill their buckets gradually so that they build their self esteem. They're stronger learners,"she said.

"Everyday they come in if they're down or if they're not getting it or whatever is bothering them, they leave her room ready to conquer the world," said Principal Wendy Newman of Merrill.

Merrill always knew she wanted to teach, but she started out in high school English. Then, becoming a mother changed the course of her career.

"I have a daughter who was born with Spina Bifida," said Merrill.

She decided to get a masters degree in special education so she could help her daughter by re-teaching her lessons at home.

"She's 32 years old now, and she's doing great, but it was a hard road for  her in school," said Merrill.

It was then she discovered her passion for helping those kids who might not quite get it the first time. For the last 15 years she has run the Star Lab and filled the buckets of thousands of students, but the day she won the Golden Apple Award, things were a little different. Every one of her students in every grade brought her a piece of her favorite candy, and one by one they filled hers.

This teacher won the weekly Golden Apple Award for teaching excellence. The award comes with a $500 prize from the sponsor, The Kirby Kelly Law Firm.

To nominate an Ark-La-Tex educator to win the award, click here to fill out the form.

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