By Amanda Boston

“In this day and age, everyone is so quick to point out when something goes wrong or a negative. We don’t take enough time to give thanks when things are good,” said Ryan Hughes in the context of teachers. Hughes is the vice president and a founding member of the Brandon Christian Business Connections (CBC), a professional networking group promoting Christian values and fellowship.

Recently, Hughes and the CBC inaugurated the Shining Light Teacher Award, an award that provides praise and accolades to the often-overlooked Christian teachers. The award recognizes a Christian teacher in the Brandon area for excellence in Christian education once a semester.

The award’s theme is based on Titus 2:7-8, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”

The Shining Light teacher selection process starts with peer nominations. The school administration then forwards the nominees to interview with a board of CBC members. Lastly, the CBC members review and select a teacher.

Walt Shaffner, the headmaster of Bell Shoals Baptist Academy, explained that a peer nomination is one of the highest forms of praise, and the Shining Light award is the icing on the cake. He also expounded on the unseen selfless acts teachers perform every day. “‘For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve,’” said Shaffner quoting Mark 10:45. “And I can’t think of a better verse that personifies the concept and the attitude of a teacher.”

The inaugural recipient was Lisa Aune, a kindergarten teacher at Bell Shoals Baptist Academy. The award presentation took place on Monday, May 15, at Bell Shoals Baptist Church. Along with the distinction of the award, Aune received a $100 gift certificate. The other nominees were Kimberly Oates, a VPK teacher, and Debbie Moore, a 4th-grade teacher, both also from Bell Shoals Baptist Academy.

Aune is a native of Brandon who has devoted the last 22 years to teaching kindergarten at Bell Shoals Baptist Academy. She said, “I feel so humbled and honored. I love my students. Teaching is so rewarding, and I am blessed.”

For information on the CBC’s Shining Light Teacher Award and how your school can participate, email or visit

Previous articleSummer Eclipse To Be Celebrated On Forever Stamp With Hot Idea
Next articleMeals On Wheels Seeks Partners To Expand Services
Amanda Boston
Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.