SAIL teacher Valerie Combs was recently named as the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce Educator of the year, and senior Ellie Rudolph was chosen as Student of the Year. Educators and students are nominated by faculty and staff at their respective schools.
Combs has been working at McNick for thirty-six years, and has worked in several positions, teaching religion, English, and now working in McNick’s SAIL program.
Combs has attended ceremonies for other recipients of this award in the past, and was excited and humbled by receiving it this year.
“I think that this year, more than all years, every teacher should win the teacher of the year award this year. That’s something I really feel, because it’s been a challenge,” Combs said.
She described McNick as her second home and explained how “it felt like a place that I wanted to contribute my passion to.” Combs also described how she feels it is important to help students find their passion.
“One of the things I think I’ve learned more than anything is that as a teacher you’re not only building skills, you’re building confidence, and hopefully increasing passion…and helping a student find their passion, I think that’s what it’s about…just finding something they love,” Combs said.