PANAMA CITY- This week's Golden Apple award winner teaches 4th grade at Lucille Moore Elementary school in Panama City. Stacey Eckles was nominated by a parent, Alicia Golden, who writes: "She's a great teacher who is such a blessing to the children." Those who work alongside Stacey say she is a source of constant encouragement to them as well.
Colleagues say Stacey Eckles sees the glass "completely full." "She always looks for the best in people, and has such a positive attitude. She is one of those people you just want to be around," said Principal Kathleen Schmidt. It's with that attitude that she approaches every day, making her classroom a place where students can dream big dreams. "I want to be a police officer," said Brandlian Smith. "I want to be a doctor so I can help people when they are sick," said Billquist Thompson.
It's here in this 4th grade classroom that Ms. Eckles is living out her dream. "It's just what I was born to do. I love seeing growth in children." For her, building relationships with her students and their families is paramount. "It's absolutely true that old saying that they don't really care what you know until they know that you care. Especially here at our school I think it's important to make those relationships with families so that the kids know, mom knows me, aunt knows me, dad knows me, whoever is taking care of that child knows me and knows that I care," said Ms. Eckles. "We are trying to prepare these kids for middle school and getting used to taking more ownership of their learning, more responsibility," she said.
She is instilling in students the confidence that they'll be ready. "I always understand what to do and if we don't we ask her and she tells us," said Brandlian. "She is nice. She is funny. She is cool. She is a wonderful teacher and I like working with her," said Billquist.
Congratulations to Stacey Eckles, this week's Golden Apple award winning teacher.