By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine native and Westwood High School 1992 graduate Angie Kenley was recently named the Secondary Teacher of the Year from the inaugural Abilene Education Foundation’s Teachers in the Limelight Celebration.
Kenley, daughter of Ted and Ginger Sweetman of Palestine, won $1,400 along with the award. The 10-year teaching veteran teaches seventh grade at Craig Middle School in Abilene.
The awards, which also went to three other teachers in other categories, were funded through the generosity of Abilene High School 1940 valedictorian Edwin Jennings Jr. The event featured 17 nominated elementary teachers, eight secondary teachers, and 11 math and science teachers.
Out of the teaching profession for four years due to the economy in 1999, Kenley worked two years in Houston as a teacher away from her husband — who was in Abilene — to get back into the profession. She then was able to reunite with her husband in Abilene when she was hired by Mann Middle School in Abilene in 2006. In 2008, she transferred to Craig Middle School due to Mann downsizing in their English department.
“This coming school year will be my fifth year working as an English Language Arts teacher at Craig Middle School, and I absolutely love it there. I have never attended a school where all faculty and staff enjoy working together, love their job, and have amazing school spirit,” Kenley said.
After graduating from Westwood High School, Kenley attended Tyler Junior College and graduated with an Associates in Liberal Arts degree. She then transferred to Abilene Christian University and majored in Interdisciplinary Studies and received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1996.
She began her teaching career in the Alief Independent School District in 1997 in Houston. Later, she became certified in 4-8 English Language Arts.
“I figured I would be more marketable plus I truly enjoy teaching specifically ELA,” Kenley said.
For Kenley, teaching is her calling.
“Educating children is my passion. Motivation is essential in encouraging them to learn new concepts and explore their unique gifts. A safe, comfortable, and positive environment is vital to help students discover that learning can be a fun experience,” Kinley said. “It is so rewarding to see my students grow and blossom into lifelong, successful learners.”
One of the reasons Kenley enjoys teaching is because all throughout her younger years as a student, she struggled to maintain her grades.
“I did struggle as a student growing up. Learning was a challenge for me, and I had to work hard for my grades. However, that challenge allows me to nurture my students in a special way, for I know what many of my struggling students go through,” Kenley said. “I love what I do, and I am so proud to be a part of Abilene ISD.”
Living in Abilene, she and her husband, Anson, have two children, Autumn, 3, and Austin, 2.
Flipping Her Classroom
Kenley has a blog about how she has flipped her classroom. The blog also has a clip of her receiving the award for Teacher of the Year at Craig Middle School and when she received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award for Abilene ISD.
Her blog is: www.mrskenleyflippedelar.blogspot.com