Lori Hudson, a fourth grade teacher at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, has been named the 2013-2014 Indian River School District teacher of the year.

Lori Hudson, a fourth grade teacher at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, has been named the 2013-2014 Indian River School District teacher of the year.

Hudson was chosen from a pool of 15 candidates, one from each school in the district. A ceremony to honor all of the candidates, and to announce Hudson as the district's teacher of the year, was held April 18 at Sussex Central High School.

In a teary-eyed acceptance speech, Hudson thanked her PSC "family," particularly the school's principal, Laura Schneider.

"One of the best things I ever did was become a teacher; but at the top of my list is my transfer to Phillip C. Showell, where I was embraced by leadership that I can't even begin to say anything about," Hudson said. "Laura, I love you for putting up with me, for encouraging me, for allowing me to build my career, and allowing me to have those building blocks and stepping stones, even if I slide off of a stepping stone every once in a while."

In her nomination of Hudson for teacher of the year, Schneider said the 44-year-old wife and mother of two has created a fun learning environment for her students.

"The moment you walk into her colorful, inviting classroom, you realize you're in for an adventure," Schneider said. "Her theme for the school year focuses [on] a 'Passport to Learning,' and the travelers of Terminal 27 [her classroom number] know that their conductor, Mrs. Hudson, will teach fourth grade skills and expectations with a dose of student enjoyment."

Schneider said Hudson is an active member of her community, makes home visits to students and their families, and is often seen cheering on her students on and off the field.

"Mrs. Hudson understands that in order for her students to meet success, she must go above and beyond, and doing so requires us to reach out beyond the classroom," Schneider said. "Mrs. Hudson does her best to live life to the fullest with no regrets. When she believes in something, she goes for it, and does her best to make sure it happens. She is passionate in all she says and does and has a great love for her students and her classroom. Her sincere educational goal is to inspire her students to believe in themselves so they can reach true levels of greatness."

Hudson has been a teacher in the IRSD for 19 years. She has spent the last three years teaching fourth grade at PCS. Prior to her transfer to PCS, Hudson spent 10 years as a mathematics and special education teacher at Selbyville Middle School, five years as a special education teacher at Sussex Central Middle School, and one year as a special education teacher at East Millsboro Elementary School.

A Nationally Board Certified Teacher, Hudson holds a bachelor's and master's degree from Wilmington University. She is a member of PCS's school improvement team, and is the school's lead social studies teacher. She has also served as a SMART technology trainer and as the chair of several educational book talks for PCS staff.

Speaking of all nominees for teacher of the year, IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting said some students require "additional investment, more time, and expertise. We are willing to do it, but they won't be automatically turned into academic gems. Dedication, determination, and data-driven decisions can make that difference. The 15 teachers we're spotlighting this evening don't view students as barriers or irritants. Just as rocks can be transformed into countertops, roadbeds, cornerstones, or precious metals, our rock star teachers envision the neediest students as diamonds in the rough."