November 2, 2011 Edition

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Bramlett recognized as
Teacher of the Year finalist

David Luiken (left) of Blue Bell Creameries presents Brooke Bramlett with a Blue Bell Ice Cream book. Luiken, assisted by Norris Seay, also of Blue Bell, treated students, teacher and staff to ice cream Friday afternoon to mark Bramlett's honor as an Arkansas Teacher of the Year finalist.
John Bland

Brooke Bramlett, who is now in her 10th year as a kindergarten teacher, all spent at Walnut Ridge's Ben R. Bush Elementary, has been selected as one of 14 regional finalists for Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

This is the third year in a row for the Walnut Ridge School to have a finalist. Blair Ballard, fourth grade teacher, was a finalist last year, and Angela Brady, middle level math teacher, was selected in 2009.

"Brooke is a great teacher, and I'm so proud of her, " said Kim Keen, elementary principal. "She is a great asset to our school and community."

A graduate of Walnut Ridge High School, Bramlett earned a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a master's from Arkansas State University.

She is a third generation teacher. Her mother, Linda Osburn, and her grandmother, the late Clara Belle (Hart) Kellow, were teachers.

"With Mom and Meme both being teachers, I've seen firsthand the many, many rewards of being a teacher," she said.

"Meme has been a big influence," she added.

Brooke's husband, Derek, is also in education as middle level principal and baseball coach at the Walnut Ridge School. Their daughter, Alli, is a kindergarten student at the school.

Lawrence County School Supt. Terry Belcher added his praise for Brooke. "I am very proud of Mrs. Bramlett. She is very dedicated and certainly deserving of this honor," he said.

The Arkansas Teacher of the Year and finalists will be honored at a gala at the State Capitol in Little Rock on Dec. 7.

For Bramlett, teaching is a reward and honor in itself. "It's amazing at the end of the year when I send my students to first grade and they are reading and writing. That is the exciting part for me."

She also forms a close bond with her students. "I get too attached," she said. "I tell people I have one (child) of my own and 17 at school."

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