Two teachers recognized as best in Selma will represent city at state level

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018

On Tuesday, Selma City Schools recognized two teachers as its district-level “Teachers of the Year” – Krystal Dozier and Mashika Tempero-Culliver will go on to represent the city in the statewide competition next year.

Dozier, the Library Media Specialist for both Cedar Park and Sophia P. Kingston Elementary schools, will represent the district in the elementary division while Tempero-Culliver, a science teacher at Selma High School, will represent the district in the secondary education division.

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Dozier’s followed a winding path to becoming an educator, a post she’s held for eleven years now, spending six years as a first-grade teacher at Cedar Park Elementary before moving to her position as a Library Media Specialist.

Dozier started her career commuting to Montgomery each day for six years to work in the Motor Vehicle Division of the Alabama Department of Revenue as an Administrative Assistant before taking a job as a work-from-home Secretary for the City of Selma’s Office of Planning and Development.

During that time, she pursued her education degree by attending night classes at Concordia College. Once she graduated, she worked another five years in local government.

“I always promised myself to keep my teaching certificate current, therefore, I went back to Concordia and took three classes to renew my certificate,” Dozier said. “This accomplishment afforded me the opportunity to transition into the educational field.”

Today, Dozier brings a level of innovation to her position that provides students with an incredible opportunity to enjoy the learning experience.

“Within the past few years, I have seen Krystal’s passion and dedication for learning soar above and beyond the call of duty,” said Dr. Doris Cureton, Principal at Cedar Park Elementary. “Krystal is not your ‘typical’ library/media specialist.”

Cureton described how Dozier plays light jazz in the library while children take Accelerated Reader tests and has transformed the library into a “Star Books Café.” Dozier has also enacted a series of incentives to encourage students to read, as well as a variety of fun events to bring stories to life.

On top of all of that, Dozier acts as de facto school counselor in the absence of a full-time counselor at Cedar Park.

Dozier laments the lack of funding for teachers, which deprives students of access to 21st Century technology, but celebrates the opportunity to work with children every day.

“The most rewarding part of my job is knowing what you do and the relationships you build have a direct impact on student growth,” Dozier said. “Teaching is a life changing career that feeds the heart and minds of students to help them grow academically, socially and emotionally.”

After earning the Gates Millennium Scholarship, Culliver set out on a pursuit for her degree that catered to her strongest subjects: math and science.

“Education was always something that I was good at. Since I was a young girl and throughout my time at Auburn University, I was often called on to tutor and assist my peers with their school work,” said Culliver.

“Teaching has always come so natural for me that I somehow overlooked how it could be the very window to my purpose,” said Culliver. “When I walked through the doors at Selma High School in 2016 to begin my first year of teaching, I knew without any doubt or hesitation that my previous experiences with career changes opened the door for me to finally see ‘my help’ help amazing young people who inspired and still inspire me to grow and to give of myself the way God designed me to.

The most difficult part of a teacher’s job is not being able to help everyone the way I desire to,” Culliver said. “Sometimes I get students who are in such heavy places of hopelessness and defeat that it gets in the way of them performing at their true potential. I wish they could see all of the beauty, strength, power and potential that I see when I look at each of them.

“In just three years of teaching, I have discovered and learned so much about myself and people. Teaching helped me to realize and to overcome my struggles with patience and procrastination,” Culliver said. “Teaching has helped me to become more organized. Teaching has helped me to slow down and to truly care for the needs of others. Teaching has taught me the importance of positive relationships with my students and my colleagues. Teaching has pushed me to be an independent learner and researcher of science and general education topics. Above all, teaching has made me a better disciple of Jesus Christ.”

Culliver still finds time to give back to the community she comes from.

“I survived being raised in a poverty-stricken, rural town called Vredenburgh, Alabama, where I now regularly return to give back of the educational success afforded to me by the Gates Millennium Scholarship program,” she said. “Growing up in this rural town presented me with life experiences that would establish my career foundation as a science teacher at Selma High School. In my free time, I enjoy studying the Bible, spending time with friends and family, singing, watching comedy and action movies, exercising, exploring nature and studying the Spanish language. I attribute this honor, along with all that I have been able to accomplish thus far, to my gracious, merciful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.