by Shauntell Brittian

Orange Beach Elementary School in Alabama holds dear to Kelly Kemmerlin Cleere, a University of West Georgia College of Education alumna and current teacher. For 25 years, Cleere has been awarded Teacher of the Year in each of the three schools she’s taught while continuously making an impact for students and her community.

Kelly Kemmerlin CleereNot only did she receive Teacher of the Year awards, but she was also selected as Baldwin County’s Teacher of the Year and District 1 Teacher of the Year. Though she was not chosen to compete at the state level, it’s still quite an accomplishment.

“Honestly, I never realized what a great honor it was, or exactly how much I appreciated it, until I was writing the essays for this past year’s nomination,” Cleere said.

When she decided to pursue a degree in education, Cleere said choosing UWG wasn’t a hard choice.

“Having a passion and love for math, UWG offered a middle school program that allowed me to specialize in that field,” she shared. “I knew I had no desire to teach elementary or high school, but I truly loved the idea of teaching math. There were very few universities that had this program option.”

Most students entering college are fresh out of high school, but for Cleere that wasn’t the case.

“My UWG time was great experience for me. I was a couple years older than most of the students so I was focused on finishing my degree,” Cleere said. “I worked as soon as my classes were finished for the day on most days.”

Balancing studies and personal responsibilities didn’t stop her from creating a normalcy.

“Being a working student did not stop me though from enjoying intramural athletics and the normal day to day college activities,” she said.

Cleere credits UWG’s College of Education for preparing her for the success she’s having.

“The professors at the university gave me multiple opportunities to experience the actual school setting prior to student teaching,” she explained. “During my study, the math methods classes taken were probably the main reason my career has been so successful.”

So what’s the next achievement Cleere hopes to conquer?

“At this point, there are really no accolades, plaques, or trophies that I desire,” she concluded. “I really just want to do the best job I possibly can to make this place a better place for those who come after me.”

Posted on December 6, 2016