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Helmwood Heights Elementary School feels like home to Tiffany Davis.
The school was, after all, where she had her first experiences in education, both as a student and as a teacher, and it’s where she continues her journey in the field.
“I came right back to where I started,” Davis said.
Davis, a fifth-grade teacher at Helmwood Heights, has been named 2014 WHAS-11 ExCEL award winner for Elizabethtown. Davis will be recognized for her achievement at a ceremony at 1 p.m. March 5.
The Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership designation is awarded in several school systems in the region. It is sponsored by WHAS and E.ON. U.S., a Louisville energy company.
Davis was nominated for the award by her fellow teachers and principal. To be considered, she completed an essay, an interview and two classroom observations.
Davis first considered a career in education after working in a preschool during college. Once she decided to pursue elementary education, there was one school where she wanted to be — the place where she attended kindergarten through sixth grade.
“That was my dream, to get back to Helmwood,” she said.
After working as a long-term substitute there, the principal surprised her with the announcement of her hire at a faculty meeting.
Thirteen years later, she was surprised with the announcement she was selected as this year’s ExCEL winner for the district. Davis said she was “at a loss for words” when Superintendent Jon Ballard walked into her room holding balloons.
“The kids had a lot of fun with it. I’m glad they got to be a part of that, too,” she said.
It was the students who first attracted her to teaching, and still they are why she enjoys her career.
“It’s a lot of those little moments that create the big picture,” she said.
Davis said she was hesitant about the process at the beginning, but enjoyed reflecting on her profession.
“It was actually very rewarding and a lot of fun,” she said.
The process illuminated the generosity of the district in their training opportunities for staff, as well as that of her colleagues, who she said inspire her daily. Parents and students add to the great atmosphere, she said.
“The families here at Helmwood are so supportive,” she said.
Davis said she is humbled by the recognition, because it came from her peers in education.
“It’s a really good feeling,’ she said. “It’s actually motivated me to try to do even more.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or email@example.com.
PAST EIS ExCEL WINNERS
1998-99 Mary Stewart, Morningside