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story.lead_photo.caption Fulton Middle School teacher Trish Alexander, center, is Fulton Public Schools' Teacher of the Year. She's pictured here with current and former students including, from left, Assistant Principal Erica Hogan, Reagan Echelmeier, Richard Harrison and Gabby Kaley. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

The Fulton Public Schools Teacher of the Year knows just about every student at Fulton Middle School.

She knows many of the past ones, as well.

"I've been here all 23 years of my teaching career, and this is where I'm going to stay," Trish Alexander said.

Alexander is the intervention teacher at FMS.

"I work with kids who are struggling in math and reading," she said. "I push into three math classes where I go and work with all the students in the class who need help, and I also teach three intervention classes. I love to see the kids' light bulbs go on."

She gives many children each year a helping hand in grasping tricky concepts, but her relationship with the students doesn't end at the classroom door.

"I try to see them outside school, too," she said. "It's all about building those relationships. Not every child is getting it from home. They need to know we care and want them to succeed."

Alexander can often be spotted at baseball games, dance recitals and chatting with her students' families at Walmart.

FMS Principal Beth Houf nominated her for the award.

"Trish has been a staple in this district and this building," Houf said. "No one works harder than Trish, and she cares deeply for the students, staff and families. You see her outside every morning greeting kids, and she's always the first person to volunteer."

Houf praised the way Alexander constantly works to learn the latest teaching techniques and improve her knowledge base.

"She's always learning new things," Houf said. "Her goal is to help every kid reach their full potential and graduate."

Alexander said much of her free time is taken with reading books on education, looking online for new teaching activities and sharing them with her coworkers.

Alexander grew up in Holts Summit and lives in Fulton with her husband. She earned an undergraduate degree in Lincoln University and a masters from the University of Missouri.

She added the win came as quite the surprise.

"My husband was a very good liar last week, and I had not a clue," she said. "I felt that quite a lot of the other teachers could've been the one up there."

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