Tony Serra Nissan-Cullman Tribune Teachers, Principal of the Month: Michelle Pender, April Hays, Chris Chambers


(Left) April Hays (front row, second from right) is so attached to her students that, when we brought her out to see her Nissan Rogue, she brought them with her. (Center) Michelle Pender checks out the 2019 Nissan Rogue she’ll be driving for the next month. (Right) Cullman Child Development Center Principal Chris Chambers checks out his Nissan Titan. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Tony Serra Nissan is proud to announce that it is expanding its Teacher of the Month award program, in partnership with the Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE) and The Cullman Tribune. 

CCBOE Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette explained, “I’m so thankful that Nissan’s partnering with us. I’m all about recognizing people, and I think this is a great opportunity. We started off as one Teacher of the Month, but now we’ve expanded that to do an Elementary Teacher of the Month, a Secondary Teacher of the Month and a Principal of the Month!”

Two teachers per month are nominated by the principals of their schools and reviewed by a committee of administrators at the CCBOE central office.  Additionally, the central office has now been charged with selecting a Principal of the Month. All honorees receive free use of a Nissan vehicle from the Tony Serra organization for one month.

Meet the Tony Serra Nissan/Cullman Tribune Teachers and Principal of the Month for March!

Michelle Pender, Elementary Teacher of the Month – Hanceville Elementary School

Principal Tony Johnson, who nominated Pender, said, “Ms. Pender is a fabulous teacher and a fabulous person.  She works up here tirelessly. We employ her, but the board really is employing sister, mom, dad. They’re up here all the time working: changing signs, cleaning rooms, straightening beds; everything that you can think of, Ms. Pender’s doing it.  She’s spearheaded the Milo’s Student of the Month, so she runs that. Anything that we can do to recognize kids, she’s involved in it; she’s very, very good. We’re so fortunate to have her. The kids are fortunate to have her here at Hanceville.”

April Hays, Secondary Teacher of the Month – Holly Pond High School

Principal Kim Butler, who nominated Hays, shared, “She’s a great teacher.  She does so much beyond the classroom to help us out. She handles all of our student data, and she’s always willing to do whatever we need her to do.  She’s one of many great ones we’ve got.”

Chris Chambers, Principal of the Month – Cullman County Child Development Center

Barnette smiled, “We’re really excited to recognize people, and Chris is a perfect principal to recognize as our first Principal of the Month.  He pours his heart and soul in everything he does, and you can tell his passion for the young people here at the Child Development Center. We’re excited to recognize him this morning.”

Chambers reacted, “It’s just an honor and privilege to be here, to serve, and I don’t feel like I deserve it.  I’m just doing my job. And the people of Cullman County’s been very good to me and my family.”

Barnette also commented on the recognition program: “I also appreciate The Cullman Tribune partnering with us and following these stories.  I think it’s a great opportunity just to highlight teachers. We have so many teachers and so many different employees in Cullman County Schools that we don’t have an opportunity to highlight them as much.  But in this situation, we get to highlight at least three. And then we’re also, every month at board meetings, we’re highlighting in a service award up to five people every month, just letting them know how much we appreciate them for going above and beyond, as well.”

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