Jackie Hendrickson Wins The Valley's Top Teacher

Congrats to the Decatur High School English Teacher!

DECATUR, Ala. - It seems like everyone has something good to say about Jackie Hendrickson. People say she is genuine, kind and goes above and beyond.

As one student says, Mrs. Henderson puts the "lit" in literature.

"I'm not surprised she won the Valley's Top Teacher," said student, Ashton Davis. "Out of all the teachers I have she really is the most inspirational. You can't help but to feel inspired when you walk in her class."

At Decatur High School, Jackie Hendrickson is known for making students feel heard, loved, and motivated.

"Each student has worth," said Hendrickson. "If a teacher knows that and sees what each individual student needs, and will make an effort to touch that student, the kids will respond."

After seeing her mother make a difference as an educator, Mrs. Hendrickson says she realized it was her calling to help young people, too.

"I care about people more than I realized I could," said Hendrickson when asked about what she's learned about herself being a teacher. "Being a teacher has taught me to be a better mother."

The Valley's Top Teacher is known to come in early or stay late. She is willing to sacrifice a lot so her students can succeed.

"She's the head of our English department," said Decatur High School Principal, Dr. Johnny Berry. "She loves our kids. She's passionate about what she does. Watching her interact with staff, students, parents... she just has an incredible love for our school."

"She's a team player," said Decatur High School Assistant Principal, Fred Abernathy. "She wants what's best for her kids. She develops lessons each day. She works hard in the classroom."

But Mrs. Hendrickson doesn't just help students academically. She is also their friend and their role model. Students say she also lifts their spirits.

"Her class is literature, but she's a lit person," said student, Tanita Bibbs. "She's always smiling. If you're having a bad day, you want to come to her class."

Bibbs says every day before class adjourns, Mrs. Hendrickson tells her students to "be good and make good choices."

Students tell me she really is the type of person you'll never forget.

To nominate a teacher you admire, click here.

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