Perdido teacher named TOY

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Gerri McDonald was named the Baldwin County Public Schools’ 2018 Elementary Teacher of the Year recently.

McDonald teaches the gifted program at Perdido School. She’s been at the small school for 17 years. At the end of this year, McDonald will be completing her 37th year as a teacher. She teaches third through eighth grade at PES.

Prior to teaching in Alabama, McDonald taught in the Escambia County School District in Florida at Century Elementary for 12 years. Her other teaching stints include at Escambia County Training School, in Tennessee and California.

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McDonald, a Walnut Hill, Fla. native, said she loves teaching because of the diversity in the job.

“We have a curriculum in the county that we teach by, but we’re able to add in other things,” she said. “My students pick the novels we read, and there’s a lot of flexibility of what I’m able to do in the gifted program.”

McDonald added, “You just have the flexibility to do things to make education and learning fun, and enjoyable for them. If they’re going to enjoy it, you’re going to enjoy it.”

Before claiming the elementary teacher of the year recognition, McDonald was chosen as Perdido School’s teacher of the year.

McDonald will now advance to the district round of the competition.

McDonald said teaching allows her to work with a wide range of students, whether young or old.

“You don’t have to have a different mind set,” she said. “The first year I did it, it was quite difficult. It took a year to begin to get into the idea of how to do this.”

McDonald said one of her favorite things to do every day is at the start of each school day.

“Every morning, I do breakfast duty,” she said. “I’ve been there early. They come up and love on you and think you’re wonderful. It’s just a little thing, if you can go in there and even if you don’t feel like it, talk to them and call them by name, it helps your day.”