Hartselle teacher earns recognition for results

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HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A loving, caring person who "makes learning fun."

That's how one parent describes WHNT News 19's latest Tools for Teachers Award winner.

Marie Hatfield wrote to explain how Youlanda Cowart, a kindergarten teacher at Sparkman School, had made a big difference in the education of her two boys. As part of her nomination, Hatfield also described Cowart as a blessing for the entire community.

Wanting to see for ourselves, WHNT News 19 paid a visit to Cowart's classroom and found a group of eager, enthusiastic students there. They were jumping and singing and... learning.

"When you walk in her classroom, they are almost always singing something to learn," Layne Dillard, Sparkman School's principal, explained.

Cowart believes movement and music are key to engaging children of a young age, so she frequently uses songs and instructional videos to get the kids up and moving. All that expression, seems to make a difference.

According to Dillard, Cowart's children have some of the best test scores in the whole district.

In recognition of Cowart's achievement, WHNT News 19 was pleased to present her with our award, as well as $319 in cash for use in the classroom. It's not just the news recognizing this special educator though.

Cowart was, just a few weeks ago, honored as her school's Teacher of the Year.

"There were over 150 kids standing down front with her [at the ceremony] which is great," Dillard said. "It just shows that impact that she's had over the years."

For Cowart's part, all the attention has been a sweet surprise, "I love my job. I love what I do but I guess sometimes just to be noticed is nice."