Shelby County Teachers Compete in District’s Design Star Challenge Contest

UPDATE:  Congratulations to Michele Murray from the Linda Nolen Learning Center for winning the Shelby County Design Star Challenge! Michele’s sensory classroom received 845 “likes” and 82 “shares” during the three-and-a-half days of voting! As the winner, Michele has won a $50 gift certificate to the Teacher Resource Center, and two tickets to the 8th Annual Taste of Shelby County on September 10. Thank you to all of our finalists for their hard work in designing these creative learning environments for our students!


Shelby County Schools is celebrating the creativity and hard work of teachers in preparing welcoming learning environments for students with the creation of the Design Star Challenge Contest.

Michelle Hall, Supervisor of Library Media and Fine Arts, had the idea for the contest after visiting schools and seeing how hard teachers had worked all summer to decorate their rooms and classroom doors.

“I was so impressed and inspired with not only how creative these teachers were with their classroom decorations, but how hard they worked to create truly engaging learning environments for their students,” Hall said.  “We appreciate all of the hours these teachers dedicated to getting their classrooms ready and want to celebrate the imaginative spirit in our schools.”

Hall asked teachers to submit photos of their creative classroom spaces for the first ever Design Star Challenge.  From the photos submitted, a total of eight finalists were selected.  Photos of each finalist’s submission have been uploaded to the Shelby County Schools’ Facebook page (  for members of the community to vote on their favorite Design Star entries.   Voting started at 8:00 a.m. Friday, August 28 and will go through 12:00 noon on Monday, August 31.  You can vote for your favorite entry from the Facebook album “Shelby County Design Stars”.

The finalists from elementary are: Whitney Battle from Vincent Elementary; Angela Binkerd from Shelby Elementary; April Maner from Calera Elementary; and Michele Murray from the Linda Nolen Learning Center.  Secondary finalists are Rachel Bevilacqua from Shelby County High School; Cathy Brown at Helena Middle School; Kristen Glover at Oak Mountain Middle School; and Dawn Howard at Vincent Middle High School.

The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the Shelby County Teacher Resource Center, and two tickets to the Shelby County Education Foundation’s Taste of Shelby County event on September 10.

Hall said in addition to individual teacher entries, several schools submitted examples of innovative designs used to engage both parents and students in common areas of the schools.  Examples included the use of QR codes at both Oak Mountain High School and Montevallo High School to communicate announcements and important information.  The QR codes were incorporated into hallway displays at Oak Mountain High School’s entry way and at Montevallo High School’s Career Center.

OMIS Design Star Cases

Glass display case designs at OMIS.

Oak Mountain Intermediate also submitted an entry for glass display cases that promote critical thinking skills. The four cases are located in the main hallway leading into the cafeteria.




Design Star Entries: (Click on photo to enlarge)

Angela Binkerd

Angela Binkerd – SES

Whitney Battle

Whitney Battle – VES

Michele Murray

Michele Murray – LNLC




Rachel Bevilacqua

Rachel Bevilacqua – SCHS

Kristen Glover

Kristen Glover – OMMS


April Maner

April Maner – CAES






Dawn Howard

Dawn Howard – VMHS

Cathy Brown

Cathy Brown – HMS

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