Malvern Daily Record

Malvern ed­u­ca­tor rec­og­nized as Novem­ber hon­oree

- Spe­cial to the MDR

A Malvern ed­u­ca­tor was rec­og­nized dur­ing the month of Novem­ber af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated by a stu­dent.

“As teach­ers con­tinue to show strength and re­siliency dur­ing these try­ing times, we're ex­cited to honor Clau­dine James, a teacher at Malvern Middle School in Arkansas as our Novem­ber hon­oree. Her ded­i­ca­tion and ten­ure have helped many of her stu­dents, like Au­drey ( the stu­dent who nom­i­nated her,) un­der­stand the world around them and she con­stantly teaches the im­por­tance of kind­ness for all,” said Brook­lyn Batey, se­nior di­rec­tor of pro­grams and part­ner­ships at Hon­ored.

The fol­low­ing story writ­ten by Leah Don­nella, ed­i­tor for NPR’s Code Switch, was fea­tured on the web­site hon­ored. org:

“Stylish” might not al­ways be the first word that gets as­so­ci­ated with teach­ers— but it was one of the three words that stu­dent Au­drey Carr said best de­scribed her for­mer English teacher, Clau­dine James.

As it turns out, there’s a story be­hind that ( James, who teaches sev­enth and eighth grade at Malvern Middle School in Arkansas, says she has a story for just about ev­ery­thing). Sev­eral of her aunts were teach­ers, and they knew how to dress. “And when I say they dressed, they dressed as if they were go­ing to a fash­ion show ev­ery day to school,” she says. So James got used to the idea that school was some­thing spe­cial— an oc­ca­sion worth dress­ing up for. Now, she says, she keeps up with the tra­di­tion “to be a role model, es­pe­cially for African Amer­i­can girls,” like her aunts were to her.

Fash­ion sense wasn’t the only thing James picked up from her aunts. They also cul­ti­vated in her a love of read­ing. Once a month, they’d send her a box of Scholas­tic books— she said it felt like Christ­mas com­ing ev­ery month. Through those books, James felt like she “could go any­where and be in any place as long as I had a book.”

Given James’ love of books, it was no sur­prise to hear Au­drey Carr, now 17 and a ju­nior in high school, de­scribe Ms. James’ class­room as a “lit­er­ary won­der­land.” Carr says the class­room had a gi­ant dis­play that spelled out R- E- A- D in the back. And un­der­neath “was just books, ev­ery­where. And I was like, oh my gosh, I’ve got to get my hands on these right now.” As a middle schooler, Carr would walk around with four or five books in her back­pack; these days, she still reads a book or two a week, on top of do­ing work for her four AP classes and be­ing in­volved in vol­ley­ball, soft­ball, and cheer­lead­ing. But she said that so many of the books in Ms. James’ class­room were ones she’d never heard of. “It was ev­ery­thing you

 ?? Photo by Tony Gatlin, Spe­cial to the MDR ?? Malvern Middle School teacher Clau­dine James poses with her stu­dent Au­drey Carr.
Photo by Tony Gatlin, Spe­cial to the MDR Malvern Middle School teacher Clau­dine James poses with her stu­dent Au­drey Carr.

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