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Dana Watts Wins $319 To Kickoff the Tools For Teachers 2017-18 Campaign

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MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - Dana Watts is the first winner of the Tools For Teachers Award for the 2017-18 school year. She teaches Kindergarten at Banks-Caddell Elementary in Decatur. Principal David McCollum says Mrs. Watts' class is the place to be.

Dana Watts teaches kindergarten at Banks-Caddell Elementary in Decatur.

"When you walk into Mrs. Watts classroom, the first thing I noticed is it's just a welcoming environment. Everyone who comes in it's an exciting place to learn it's bright colorful and kids love going in there because they know they are going to be loved but they are going to learn what they need to learn which is in kindergarten your ABCs, your numbers...letters, sounds. Just the foundational skills to be successful." said McCollum.

By the end of the year, the kids show incredible progress.  "When they leave their classroom a lot of kids will be reading," says McCollum. "When they come in and when they leave, it's amazing the growth between August and May."

Dana Watts shows her excitement in winning $319!

The money was much needed! "Teachers don`t always get a lot of kudos for what they do," said Watts. "So anytime anyone recognizes that, it means an awful lot to us."

Watts faces a unique challenge everyday. "I have 5 students that don`t speak English, so there are some challenges there. We have kids from all different backgrounds and different places, so it makes it very challenging but also very rewarding." said Watts.

So what will Mrs. Watts do with her new found fortune?

"I have a nice long list it's going to take care of; a lot of things on my list that I usually buy with my own money so that is wonderful. I'm so excited!"

Tell us about a public school teacher you feel deserves recognition. Send us your nomination today! Honorees will receive $319 for their classroom. Nominees must teach in K-12 public schools in the WHNT News 19 viewing area.