It’s Teacher Appreciation Week—a time to honor the devoted teachers in our lives. This week we are highlighting five teachers who were nominated by colleagues for their outstanding contributions and dedication. Each of these teachers will receive $100 in books from Booksource. Thanks to teachers everywhere for all that you do!

Sonya Merchant


Sonya is an amazing third grade Intensive Reading teacher at Maude Saunders Elementary.  Her class is made up entirely of Sonya Merchantstriving readers who haven’t been successful in traditional classes.   She exposes them to quality texts throughout the day, intervenes with foundational skills, and helps these students become successful.  If I had children, she would be the teacher I would want them to have because she will not stop until every child in her classroom loves reading.  I can’t even estimate how much money she has spent on books in the five years that I’ve known her.  Now that she is teaching Intensive Reading in our school that has the highest Free and Reduced Lunch status, she has used her own funds on books for her students.  With the countless hours she puts in both at school and at home finding resources, I know she is exhausted but yet she still has enough energy to share resources with her team and with teachers throughout the district.

Grade Level: Third Grade

From: DeFuniak Springs, Florida

Favorite Book: Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

Favorite Teaching Moment: Teaching First Grade Reading- One of my most memorable moments was a time when one of my first graders made the realization that he was actually reading a book on his own without me having to help him pronounce words.

When you have free time you like to: I truly love to read extensively, as well as spend time horseback riding.

If you were an animal you would be a: Horse

Favorite Food: Pizza

Favorite Movie/TV Show: Hidalgo or any version of CSI

Sonya says, “I have been fortunate enough to have been teaching for 25 years as an elementary teacher. I have taught Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, and Third Grade. During this time I have also worked as a Literacy Specialist for three years within my school district.”

Congratulations Sonya!


We want to recognize other nominated teachers for their outstanding work. Each teacher will receive $25 in books. Thanks for all you do!

Susan Foster from St. Augustine, Florida

Michelle Kunz from Des Moines, Iowa

Kelsey Bower from Iowa

Cindy Barnhardt from Arkansas

Linda Marshall from Florida

Ana Chacon from Florida

Cynthia Hutchinson from Florida

Michelle Martinez from Florida

Karen Mejia from Florida

Esme Leal from Humble, Texas

Kristin Henness from Oklahoma

Gerald Stephens from Hoover, Alabama

Melinda Willingham from Cullman, Alabama

Ann Marie Corgill from Mountain Brook, Alabama

Sara Henry from Tulsa, Oklahoma

Jessica Czymanski from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Angela Sadowski from Racine, Wisconsin