Yadkinville Elementary School exceptional children’s teacher Debby Gunnell has been named Teacher of Excellence for the 2016-2017 school year. This accolade is awarded by the EC Leadership Committee of Yadkin County Schools. She will be recognized at the 66th annual Conference on Exceptional Children.
Gunnell is known as a true leader, not only in her work with students with special needs, but among her faculty. She serves as the EC Department chair at Yadkinville Elementary School.
When asked why she taught special education, Gunnell responded with the following statement: “Teaching children with special needs feeds my desire to help those who face challenges. I believe all children can learn and possess special talents that must be fostered. This year Yadkinville Elementary has become an A+ school. I am excited about what A+ and Education through the ARTS means for my students as there will be enhanced learning opportunities for all! Accordingly, teachers and students will be exploring, supporting, and growing the multiple ways in which people display intelligence.”
This year marks Gunnell’s 21st year of teaching exceptional children, the last 14 at Yadkinville Elementary. Prior to moving closer to home and to Yadkin County, she taught high school students in Cabarrus and Catawba counties. She also has experience serving students with severe/profound disabilities, birth to age 3, since she worked for the “Circle Project” in Charlotte when she was a graduate assistant for the Special Education Department at UNCC.
Kristi Gaddis, director of Student Services for Yadkin County Schools, said, “Debby Gunnell is one of the most caring and thoughtful teachers I’ve ever worked with. She goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the whole child.”
Gunnell enjoys spending time with her family including her husband, Mike; two sons, Parker and Nicholas; and canine member, Ellie. She loves watching her youngest son compete in golf tournaments for Surry Community College and visiting her eldest son in his college town of Boone. She also enjoys hiking and exploring towns rich in history and culture. Some of her favorites include Asheville, Blowing Rock, Boone, and Southport.