The Walker High faculty presented Kitchens the award during a pep rally for the Vikings’ game against the Sylacauga Aggies on Nov. 5.
Kitchens said she was honored by the gesture.
“I was very humbled by this,” she said. “It was a very touching time.”
Though she was reluctant to comment on the qualities that won her the accolade, Kitchens did say she makes an effort to display her pride in the school whenever possible.
“I try to support every event that goes on at Walker High School,” she said. “I’m one of their biggest fans.”
Kitchens said that, though teachers must find ways to motivate children, the ultimate key to success is for educators to genuinely care for their students.
Though she has been teaching for almost 27 years, Kitchens said she still gets nervous at the start of each school year.
“It is the newness of the students in each class that helps keep my interest soaring every semester,” she stated in an article published on the city schools’ website. “It never ceases to amaze me how every class develops its own personality and reactions to my teaching style. I teach three classes every semester and not one is the same.”
Walker High Principal Jeremy Crigger said Kitchens is always available to her students. He said he often sees her tutoring children in the bleachers during a sports game.
“She is a tremendous educator,” he said. “She brings a lot of passion.”
Crigger said Kitchens, who is the head of the school’s math department, sets the bar for her colleagues.
Kitchens graduated from Parrish High School in 1980. She said she received her bachelors and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama.
“Roll Tide!” she said while discussing her college background.
Kitchens replaces another Walker High math teacher, Terrell Gowins, as the school’s teacher of the year.
Kitchens has spent her entire teaching career at Walker High, aside from the one semester she taught at Holt High School in Tuscaloosa right out of college. She said Walker High has a wonderful faculty that works hard to prepare the students for higher education.
“Our kids leave with a really great foundation,” she said.