Being chosen by her peers as Teacher of the Year for Lawrence is a high honor for Helen Tuley.
A fifth-grade teacher at Hillcrest School has been named the Lawrence school district's Teacher of the Year.
Helen Tuley, who was chosen for the award from a panel of her peers, joined the local school system in 1987 as a gifted consultant after teaching in Belleville, Wathena and Troy, where she grew up.
"It's fun when your peers give you something," said Tuley, 52. "That's the best thing that can happen to you."
Tuley, who is in her third year at Hillcrest, also has served as gifted consultant at Hillcrest, East Heights and New York schools and as a classroom teacher at Centennial School.
Her nomination has been submitted to the Kansas State Board of Education for consideration in the regional and state competition for Teacher of the Year. The winners will be announced next fall.
"I know that teaching and learning continue to be enhanced because of Helen Tuley's commitment to making a difference in the lives of children," said Bob Arevalo, Hillcrest principal.
Tuley earned both her master's and bachelor's degrees from Fort Hays State University, where she returns each summer to instruct and coordinate a practicum for students working on master's degrees in gifted education.
She is heavily involved in the Lawrence community, volunteering her time with numerous organizations. She is founder of Hillcrest School's "Youth in Action," in which students get involved in community and environmental projects.
"I just love the way she teaches," said Coyla Ezell, also a fifth-grade teacher at Hillcrest, who nominated Tuley for the honor. "I just think anybody lucky enough to be in her class is learning a lot of life skills and a lot of problem-solving, besides having a lot of fun."
Although Tuley and Ezell don't team-teach, they do work together often, planning activities that fit in the fifth-grade curriculum. Ezell said she admires Tuley's sense of fairness and how she talks with children when issues of "right" and "wrong" arise.
"She's a real high-level-energy person," Ezell said. "She organizes things really, really well."