Ann Marie Corgill was all smiles as she walked into the gym at Cherokee Bend Elementary in Mountain Brook Friday morning.
She was immediately swarmed by hundreds of students wanting to hug her and congratulate her on becoming the 2014-2015 Alabama Teacher of the Year. It is an honor she never dreamed she would get.
"My colleagues nominated me and I think that was the biggest honor," said Corgill.
After a lengthy application process about her teaching philosophy and questions about social issues facing education, the state selected Corgill out of four finalists.
"I wanna be real and honest everyday and I hope my passion and my honesty came through because it's not about me. I've said this over and over I don't like the name because it's all about the kids," said Corgill.
But if you ask her students, they say it is all about Ms. Corgill.
"It feels really good because I know she's worked really hard for this and she deserves it like Ellen was saying and she works so hard and she cares for us and that makes us feel really good," said fourth grader Clara Howell.
"I feel pretty proud of her because I didn't know she was gonna make it that far, but she did and I feel so really proud of her," Eleanor Segers said.
"She really listens to kids. She says that kids have a voice and she makes us learn so much. And this year she's been teaching us about the growth mindset," said Ellen Anderson. "The growth mindset is where you embrace challenges and you don't give up easily."
These students are a testament to Corgill's teaching and why she deserves the trophy.
For the next year Corgill will travel around the state in a new SUV provided by Alfa Insurance. She will mentor other teachers, but insists on being in the classroom as much as possible.
"I will be traveling but I told everyone I want to be in the classrooms as much as possible, especially here," said Corgill. "I wanna be with kids, that's what I do, that's my passion and that's where I feel best at, where I feel I can make a difference."