Golden Apple Award: Sonjia Norman, Blythe Bower Elementary School

CLEVELAND, TN (WDEF) – One days she’s an astronaut. The next day she’s a soldier. Sonjia Norman digs deep into her costume closet to make lessons come to life for her 3rd graders at Blythe Bower Elementary School in Cleveland. That kind of creativity is just one of the reasons Mrs. Norman earned the Golden Apple Award.

Joel Barnes is the Principal at Blythe Bower Elementary School.

He says,” Any time you mention her name in our building, you just get enthusiasm. She is excited about her students. She’s excited about teaching. She loves what she does, and she is very passionate about her craft, which is teaching third grade, and she’ll come in full outfits and full guard to get her students excited, and we appreciate all that she does for us.”

Mrs. Norman says, “I’m a hometown girl. I was born and raised in Cleveland Tennessee. I actually went to this school as a student. I’m just a third grade teacher that loves her job and her students. I have had several teachers (who inspired me). Jenny Nelson was one. Barbara Brown was another one, and then my mom did who has passed away now, so.”

Third grader Mikeelah Dennard says. “I like that she treats her students the way that they want to be treated.”

Third grader Shane Hayes adds, “She lets us work with our teammates, and helps us on our lessons and units and during KLA and math.”

Mrs. Norman explains, “The relationships that I build with my students and my parents I think that is the key to having a good year. I’m not a workbook type person. I do around… I play around the world. I do a lot of dress up in my classroom, uh to bring it the lessons alive. Sometimes I don’t think the kids really know how to take me when I bring in costumes. I never had any preschool experience because my mom was a stay-at-home mom. But when I went in kindergarten I remember the very first day that I walked in kindergarten you know. They always ask the question what do you want to be when you grow up? And a teacher and I never once veered away from that path. And I just knew I wanted to become a teacher, and that’s what I am today, twenty-seven years into teaching.”



Categories: Bradley County, Cleveland, Education, Golden Apple Award, Golden Apple Award 2022-2023, Local News