Voted 2012 Parkway Central Teacher of the Year
By ABBEY DUNBAR
After 28 years as an educator in the Parkway School District, Julie Pepper was honored by her peers when she received the title of 2012 Parkway Central High School Teacher of the Year.
Pepper is an alumnus of University of Missouri, after which she received her Master’s Degree at Washington University in St. Louis. She continued her education in post-graduate classes at Webster University. Pepper began her teaching career at Parkway Central Middle School, and, after 4 years, moved to the position of high school math teacher at Parkway Central, where she has remained for the past 24 years. She currently teaches Algebra II and AP Calculus.
Pepper transitioned to a high school math teacher after she “realized it was a better fit” for her to teach high school age students. She appreciated the new and challenging math curriculum at the high school. When asked what her motivation was to become a math teacher, Pepper explains, “I was always a math teacher. I grew up helping people”. So, after years of working with children in math she made a career out of that desire to support people.
Pepper prides herself on being very student- oriented so that every student can grow and learn under her instruction. “One of my goals as a teacher is to create a welcoming atmosphere and to be respectful of students, and expect a lot in return,” shares Pepper. A former student, Lexi Hightaian, Parkway Central Senior, personally experienced that welcoming and respectful environment. “Ms. Pepper doesn’t just want to teach [her students] math, she wants to get to know them too” said Hightaian. As an active member in the Parkway Central High student government, Hightaian added, “Ms. Pepper is not just focused on teaching math, she is in charge of the whole student council, and also balances her life at home, with her life at Parkway Central High. She has done incredible work with this organization”.
When she found out she was voted Teacher of the Year for Parkway Central High School, Pepper felt “humbled and honored”. She said that “it felt nice to be recognized by her fellow educators”.
The Principal of Parkway Central High School, Tim McCarthy, said, “Julie Pepper is an exemplary educator due to her commitment in the classroom and out of the classroom”. He also proudly discusses her ability to help “create a wonderfully positive climate in the school” due to her vital positions in the math department, as well as many factions of the Student Council.
Editor’s note: Abbey Dunbar is a student writer at Parkway Central High School.