Hubbard awarded Teacher of the year
‘I just love the kids’
TORRINGTON – Educators are extraordinary people. They nurture curiosity and creativity in the minds of their students. They demonstrate patience, leadership and adaptability. Every educator plays an important role within their district and community. Torrington High School special education teacher Candy Hubbard was recognized for her hard work by being awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the Goshen County School District on Monday, May 8.
“This is an awesome honor,” Hubbard told the Telegram. “I feel very humbled by it. I don’t like to brag about myself or anything like that, but I feel like it was very well deserved. I feel good that somebody even nominated me.”
Hubbard has been a special educator for 44 years. Most of those years have been at the Gering High School before she chose to retire. After attempting retirement for a short time, she accepted a position in Torrington. Hubbard began in Torrington nine years ago working part-time at the middle school and part-time at the high school. It wasn’t long before she took a full-time position at the high school. Currently, she is the special education chairman.
“I just love the kids,” Hubbard explained. “I love to see what’s happening. Things have changed from when I began, but it’s still inspiring to see what we can do every day. My motto is ‘every day is a new day.’”
“I build a relationship with the kids,” she continued. “That’s the first thing and probably the most important thing. They can have good days, and they can have bad days, but I’m still going to be here for them. If they struggle, we’re going to find a way to make them successful.”
Hubbard grew up outside of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. She graduated from Scottsbluff High School and then from the University of Nebraska and Chadron State College.
“[I’ve wanted to be a teacher] ever since I was young,” Hubbard said. “I have a special place in my heart for students, especially students that are on IEPs or special ed students. I’ve always wanted to care for kids and wanted to inspire them. I wanted to teach them so they could make a difference in their life.”
A major tool she uses is communication, both with her students and their parents. Hubbard said it’s very important to build strong relationships with kids and their parents. By building a strong relationship, she can ensure that she is also building a strong support team for her students. This can also build trust and understanding.
“I want to make sure they know this is a safe place for them to be and that we care for them,” Hubbard said. “We also make sure to talk about what’s going to happen after school, whether they’re career-ready or college-bound. We want to make sure they have the skills that they need to be successful when they leave here.”
She wants to help get her students engaged in their learning and find ways for them to have fun with it. Her goal is to inspire them and motivate them. Most importantly, she wants to help her students believe in themselves and have good self-esteem.
“The biggest thing for me is when you can see how much the students appreciate what I’m doing for them,” Hubbard said. “There’s a lot of kids who really want help. It’s great to see that light bulb go on when they get it.”
Every success is more valuable than any challenge.
“I put a lot of time and effort into what I do,” Hubbard said. “I’m excited about what I do, and I love the kids. There’s challenging opportunities but there’s also very exciting opportunities.”
“The biggest thing I don’t like is all of the paperwork because it’s so detailed,” she continued. “But there’s just something in my heart that feels like that’s why I was put on this earth was, because I needed to help the strugglers or even the kids that just need a different way to understand information.”
Hubbard said she is happy to help out any student who needs her.
“Every kid is important,” Hubbard told the Telegram. “Whether they’re struggling at home or struggling in school, they need to believe in themselves and know that they can move forward.”
To become “Teacher of the Year,” teachers must first be nominated by someone in the district, fill out a questionnaire, interview and then be selected. Teachers are selected based on their work and community involvement.
“This has just made me realize more that I do have something to offer and I want to continue,” Hubbard said. “I want to inspire kids, lead them and empower them. I want them to know that those are three important words, as our mission for the high school states. This wasn’t just an honor, it also really felt good to know that my hard work paid off and that someone is recognizing that.”
When she chooses to retire again, Hubbard said she will spend time with her family. She has two grandkids in Scottsbluff and one in Minnesota, with one on the way.
“I’m thankful for Goshen County Schools and all of the support that we have,” Hubbard said. “The administration, central office and everybody seems to work well together. We need to continue to make it better because we can go from good to great.”