Malvern Daily Record
Malvern educator recognized as November honoree
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