James teacher earns Wal-Mart honor

By Tony Parra

The School Board Members recognized Joeli Cathey as the Portales Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year during the school board meeting on Monday.
Cathey said she has been teaching for three years for James Elementary and in her first year teaching she split time working for James Elementary and the junior high.
Cathey said a friend, who was her boss, helped her make the decision to go into teaching. Cathey said she was working as a secretary at Dora schools when her boss, then-superintendent Terrill Mitchell, said she should go into teaching.
“He saw something in me and encouraged me to go into teaching,” Cathey said. “I know where my calling is in and it’s teaching children. I listened to God’s voice.”
Cathey said she teaches special education students at James Elementary and Terry said parents nominated Cathey for the award.
“The award recognizes her for all of the hard work and tremendous accomplishments she has done,” Terry said. “One of the kids was in a wheelchair and had trouble walking. She has made tremendous progress with the kid and she has got him to walk. The parents are proud of the work she has done. She gives up her lunches to stay and work with her students.”
James Elementary Principal Michael Terry said the teacher of the year is selected from the Roosevelt County teachers.
“I am very patient, but at the same time I have high expectations for all of the children,” Cathey said. “I love it (teaching). I believe you should focus on the children’s strengths and not on their disabilities.”