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O’Bannon earns state teaching honor

Teaching can be a profession that flies under the radar. Those who spend so much time each day cramming knowledge into the heads of the country’s future leaders are sometimes overlooked.

Recently, one local teacher was rewarded for her love of teaching.

Sharmon O’Bannon, who teaches math and science to third and fourth graders at Pollard McCall Junior High School, was chosen the Troy University (Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative) AMSTI February 2017 Teacher of the Month.

She is only in her second year at McCall but already is a favorite of her students. They greet her in the halls as they change classes. Clearly, she is well loved.

“I won the award because of my work with AMSTI,” she said. “I am passionate about the students and hope to teach them that learning can be fun. I am hopeful that somehow, every single day, that I show my students that they do not have to be perfect, and they are capable of accomplishing goals and fulfilling dreams.

“I am doing what I set out to do many years ago, and I hope to continue to do what I love with those I love around me,” she said.

AMSTI is a program adopted by the county schools, and most recently, the Brewton schools. According to many educators it is a way of learning that is being found to be successful all over the state.

One of their current projects is to show that plants can be grown hydroponically. This program furnishes the students with all the information and materials they need to grow the plants, build a car that will run, or produce their own electricity. The class is never dull.

“I am excited to be here at Pollard,” O’Bannon said. “I am teaching in the same classroom where I went to school when I was in the third grade. Teaching is a little bit different now than it was back then.

“It’s takes a lot to teach classes at school,” she added. “There is never enough money to go around and AMSTI furnishes us with what we need. They send it to us and when we are finished with a project, we send it back to be readied for another class. Our obligation is to attend classes during the summer months. It is well worth that.”

O’Bannon grew up in the country near Pollard-McCall. She attended school there and graduated from Flomaton High School in 1990. She earned a bachelors of science degree in education from Troy.

“I have had a wonderful teaching career allowing me to teach in many places and make a lot of friends,” she said. “I taught first at Flomaton Middle School where I taught the sixth grade for three years until I had my second child. I decided to become a full-time mother for a while.

“After a few years, I decided to go back to teaching and taught for a while at Headstart out in Boykin,” she said. “My next job was one that I really loved at Escambia Academy teaching the fourth grade.”

Dennis Hadaway hired her to come to W.S. Neal Middle School and she stayed there until she came to Pollard McCall last year.

“W.S.Neal Middle was an amazing job where I fell in love with teaching science,” she said. “I taught fifth and sixth grade there and can easily say that it was an awesome school. Now I am back ‘home’ at Pollard McCall.”

She has been married for 18 years to Joey O’Bannon. They have two children, Gracie (17) and Joseph (15) who attend Flomaton High School.

“The kids played every kind of sport, so we know where every gym and field is in our county and beyond.” she said.