CRESTVIEW — Peggy Murray, who teaches kindergarten, first- and second-grade students at Bob Sikes Elementary School, has a formula for cultivating math and reading skills.


Editor’s Note: This is the 10th article in a series on north Okaloosa County Teachers of the Year.



CRESTVIEW — Peggy Murray, who teaches kindergarten, first- and second-grade students at Bob Sikes Elementary School, has a formula for cultivating math and reading skills.



Facilitating activity stations with hands-on activities, coupled with goal setting, is the combination for success in this classroom.



"If they feel like they can accomplish (a task), then they are willing to do a little bit more when you raise the bar," Murray said.



Students sound out words with the help of vowel cards and read stories twice: first to a teaching assistant and then to Murray.  



Positive reinforcement is another component, Murray said.



"We are constantly telling them how great they are at it," she said. 



 Murray, a Niceville resident, has been teaching full time at Bob Sikes for the past six years. Recently, faculty members elected her the school’s Teacher of the Year.



Principal Vicky Hayden has noticed the creativity Murray brings to her classroom.



"She does a lot of singing and dancing with her kids, but at the same time she is very structured," Hayden said.



Supporting the school extends beyond the classroom, though.



"She is a team player, whether its Relay for Life (events) or Lyme disease awareness ... she is involved in everything," Hayden said. "Overall, she gives 110 percent."