January 2018 Winner - Shelia Hodge:(Southeast Middle School)


Meridian Family of Stations -

Meridian Star Article

Southeast Middle School fifth grade math teacher Sheila Hodge is proof that, if you want something bad enough, it's never too late in life to take that leap of faith.

Her determination was rewarded last week when Hodge was named January's Golden Apple teacher of the month winner at a surprise pep rally in her honor.

Hodge said she was shocked and overwhelmed to hear her name called

"I feel so blessed that I was nominated by so many students," Hodge said. "It's reassuring to know that what I am doing is not in vain. My students see me for who I am and believe in me because I believe in them.

Some of the words used to describe Hodge by her students were: remarkable, funny, sweet, inspiring, good listener, great personality, kind and nice, never gives up on us, makes learning fun, makes math easy and fun.

Students Harper Simmons, Raylee Turk and Eli Carr agree their math teacher is the best.

'She strives to push us and strives for us to be amazing. I just love her.'

–Harper Simmons

"She does everything that she can to help and teach us," Simmons said. "She strives to push us and strives for us to be amazing. I just love her."

"She doesn't give us a hard time, and doesn't go over it too quick," Turk said. "She slows us down and explains it to all of us."

"I'm happy for her because she is a nice teacher," Carr said. "If we don't understand something she will go over it with us. She makes learning fun."

Susan Ross, of Meridian Family of Stations, presents Southeast Lauderdale Middle School Teacher Sheila Hodge with a certificate for Golden Apple Teacher for the month of January.

Even though Hodge waited until her children were older to pursue a career in education she never gave up her dream to become a teacher one day.

"I always wanted to be an educator," Hodge said. "When I graduated high school my goal was to go to school to be a teacher, but it didn't work out that way. But, life makes changes and we grow, so after my kids got older I decided to go to school and get a degree in education."

Principal Marcus Irby said in the five years Hodge has taught at Southeast there's not a day when she comes to work that she doesn't have a smile on her face.

'She went into education for the reason we hope everyone does – because she has a heart for the kids, and a passion for teaching.'

–Southeast Middle School Principal Marcus Irby

"She went into education for the reason we hope everyone does – because she has a heart for the kids, and a passion for teaching," Irby said. "She teaches math to fifth-grade students who aren't always the most eager to learn math, yet she makes it fun for them, and they absolutely know she loves them."

Barbara Jones, of Meridian Community College, was surprised when she found out Hodge was the recipient of the Golden Apple.

"When I saw this teacher come up to accept the award I realized I had taught her at Northeast High School in the '80s," Jones said. "I'm so proud of her. That's why teachers stay in education, they don't do it for the money.

"They do it to help students learn what they want to be when they grow up. It's not about money – it's about teachers like Ms. Hodge who love education and when they are successful, it makes us feel very well paid."

Hodge said her favorite thing about teaching is the students.

"I love my students, and love to watch them learn," Hodge said. "When the light bulb goes off and they finally grasp what I have been trying to teach them – words can't explain how it makes me feel.

"It makes knowing what I do matters."

Hodge said her advice to a new teacher: love your students and accept them for who they are.

"There will be challenges, but remember why you are doing it," Hodge said. "If you have that passion it outrides everything else. Keep doing what you are doing even though you sometimes feel like it goes unnoticed.

"This award assures me that it doesn't go unnoticed."

What do you want your students to remember about you?

"I want them to remember they can learn," Hodge said. "No matter how bad it looks, or what the situation is they can always pull that grade up and do better. I want them to always remember they can be successful."