Panther Spotlight 9: Sara Adkins & Leah Gilbert

Posted on 02/22/2018

Cabot Public Schools is proud to present, “Panther Spotlight.” This feature puts the spotlight on faculty and staff that are making a difference in the lives of our students every day.

Throughout the school year, we’ll recognize our outstanding certified and classified employees.

This week, “Panther Spotlight” is proud to recognize Magness Creek Elementary Library Media Specialist Sara Adkins and Cabot High School math teacher Leah Gilbert.

Name:  Sara Adkins

Title:  Library Media Specialist 

How long have you been with the Cabot School District? I have been with the district for 12 years. I taught kindergarten at Magness Creek for nine years before I became the library media specialist.  

Describe your job? I have the best job in the world! I get to share a love for reading and learning, and I get to use lots of cool tech toys too!  Students come to the library to find books that they want to read and on topics that they are interested in. I teach students how to access information from the library and from lots of other resources too.  Students also get to use lots of different types of technology to learn how to code and create new things.  Students use tiny, programmable robots called Ozobots; they play fun coding games; and they use Little Bits to create circuits. Not only do students use tech in the library, they also create and learn with legos, K'Nex, and origami.  I get to work with students in the library, but I also get to collaborate with teachers in the building.  I work with teachers to purchase new books and resources, provide materials for research projects in their classrooms, and organize fun, engaging reading programs with them, such as One Book, One School.     

What is it that you love about being a Library Media Specialist? As a library media specialist, I get to create a place in the school where every student has the opportunity to choose the books they want to read and to learn about things that interest them.  I tell the students every year that the books don't belong to me, they belong to everyone in the school. The students know that I take care of the books, add books that they will love, and often take their recommendations on what new books to purchase.  I love facilitating learning and sharing a love of reading, all at the same time every day.   

Why do you love working for the Cabot School District and at Magness Creek Elementary? Magness Creek is my home away from home, and the faculty and staff are my second family.  I first came to Magness Creek as a student teacher.  I loved every minute of interning here, and I prayed that I would get a job in the district when I graduated. For more than a decade, this school and this district have provided me with the support, training, and encouragement to be the best teacher that I can be.  

What did you do before working at the Cabot School District? Before I worked in the district, I was a college student. I had three part time jobs while going to school full time. I babysat every weekend, worked in the office of a remodeling business, and worked as a caregiver at an afterschool care center.  

Please share any memorable or favorite moments? I could write a book on all of the memorable moments from my years teaching kindergarten. Stories that would make you smile and stories that would make you laugh out loud. However, more recently, there was a moment where a student said something to me that I will never forget. This student is a struggling reader who has never enjoyed reading. Each week, when he came with his class to the library, I suggested books that he might like, only to hear him say that he didn't want to check anything out.  For two years, I talked to his teachers and tried to find anything that he would like to read.  I did not give up, and he finally checked out a graphic novel that I had recommended to him. The very next day he saw me in the hallway and yelled out, "Mrs. Adkins, I read for two hours straight last night! That book is really good!"  I still smile when I think about that moment.  

Why/How did you get into this field? I have loved school since before I was old enough to start kindergarten.  My older cousins would play "school" with me, and I liked pretending to be a student.  After I started school, I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. Also, my birthday is August 19th.  And for many years that was the first day of school.  I think I have always loved school, because it started on my birthday.  In high school, I took elective classes that focused on the education field.  After graduating from high school, I attended UCA and graduated with my teaching degree.  While teaching kindergarten, I realized that I wanted to become a library media specialist. I got my master's degree and few years later became the library media specialist here at Magness Creek.    


If you were not a library media specialist, what would you be doing? I would be teaching in the kindergarten classroom again! 

Please share a motto or saying you live by? I work hard every day and treat others the way that I want to be treated.  

Can you share a fun fact about yourself? A fun fact about me is I have a very large extended family. My mother and my father are both one of eight children.  I have 25 aunts and uncles and over 30 first cousins. I love my big family!   

What is something someone would be surprised to know about you? People would be surprised to know that I don't alphabetize the books on my bookshelves at home.  My youngest son's books are in a giant basket...they aren't even on a shelf!   

What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to spend time with my husband and our boys, and to read, of course.

Kelly Bankston, Magness Creek Elementary Principal and Kelly Riggs, Magness Creek Elementary Assistant Principal:  Mrs. Adkins collaborates with all grade levels to do research projects connected to class work. She considers the Media Center an extension of the classroom, not just a place to listen to stories and check out books. Magness Creek's media center is a bustling hub for learning. Mrs. Adkins is a master for creating meaningful connections for students with reading. She schedules author Skypes, webinars, and face-to-face visits. She heads our One Book, One School committee with such excitement! From enlisting families and community members to build displays to helping staff develop weekly topics, Mrs. Adkins makes our One Book, One School a memorable experience for all. On a more personal level, Mrs. Adkins works with teachers and reluctant readers to find books that peak their interests. She keeps teachers up-to-date on the best books to use for instruction across the curriculum. No matter how old you are, let Mrs. Adkins know you are searching for something to read and she will find books for you that you will love. 

 Mrs. Adkins also uses stations to address STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Stations for coding, creating, and collaborating are new additions to the Media Center under Ms. Adkins. A portable Lego wall, iPads, and engineering station gives students many options.

The Media Center is the heartbeat of Magness Creek thanks to Mrs. Adkins commitment to helping teachers and students learn. Her enthusiasm is contagious. Please help us shine the CPS spotlight on Mrs. Adkins.

Name: Leah Gilbert

Title:  Math Teacher

How long have you been with the Cabot School District?  I have worked in the Cabot School District since the start of my teaching career, 18 years ago.  

Describe your job? I teach math in a variety of settings. I am also a PLC leader at Cabot High School. 

What is it that you love about being a teacher?  I love watching students grow into young men and women in all areas - socially, emotionally, and academically.  I am honored to get to be a part of their educational journey and help expose them to the world of problem solving.  A lot of times, math is not most students’ favorite subject, but I love the challenge of helping students understand math in ways they have never thought about in the past.  I love to see my student’s confidence build throughout the year as they learn important life skills related to mathematical reasoning/problem solving.  The best days are when I can get students to smile, laugh, and take pride in what they have learned.

Why do you love working for the Cabot School District and for Cabot High School? The best part of my job is working with students!  I love my students. They become one of my kids forever. I love being able to be a part of their lives and watch them learn, grow, and achieve their goals. I also love working for a district that does what is best for students. The district has always provided support and resources to help me be able to do my job well and teach students. 

My co-workers are amazing and always support me, encourage me, and help me be at my best every day. I have made some amazing lifelong friends in my career as a teacher. I have always had a good relationship with administration, especially Mr. Hawkins and the assistant principals at the high school.  They all support me both personally and professionally. They are a blessing to me and my students every day and will always take time to listen and support wherever they can.

I also love Mrs. Julie Ward.  She was my mentor 18 years ago and taught me what it took to be an effective teacher.  She has continually supported me personally and in my career, and I am truly thankful for the time she has invested into my life and my students.

What did you do before working at the Cabot School District? I have always been a teacher in Cabot.  It was what I was born to do.

Please share any memorable or favorite moments? Every graduation I have ever attended has been a favorite moment for me. Graduation night is my favorite day of the year.  It is always the hardest because I have to let go and let my students enter into adulthood, but I love watching students walk across the stage to receive their diploma. It touches my heart to know what my students have overcome, worked for, and achieved to be able to be in their cap and gown and walk across the stage. I am honored to share in that moment when they walk off stage with the diploma in their hands.  Words cannot describe the joy I feel as I watch each of my students come off the stage.


Why/How did you get into this field? My grandfather, grandmother, father, and aunts were all in the teaching profession.  It is a family calling for sure.

If you were not a teacher, what would you be doing? I would be using my master’s degree in social work.

Please share a motto or saying you live by? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher. Luke 6:40

Can you please share a fun fact about yourself? I have been told that my laugh sounds like a tea kettle going off.  I am not sure what that means, but people usually laugh when saying it.

What is something someone would be surprised to know about you? I have actually completed a full ropes course, which ended in zip lining.

What do you like to do in your spare time? My faith is a very important piece to who I am as a person, so I am involved in many church activities.  I am involved in life groups and serve the community when I can. I support my students in their extracurricular activities. I love seeing them use their gifts and talents in various activities. I have also been known to go to a few Arkansas Razorback football games.

Anything else you’d like to add? I have Cerebral Palsy.  When I graduated high school, people told me that it would be hard for me to pursue a degree in college and to live on my own. I was also told that it may be hard to gain employment due to my disability. Cabot School District gave me a chance.  They believed in me and allowed me the opportunity to serve students in the community. From the moment I entered Central Office, I felt welcomed and accepted as part of faculty and family of Cabot School District.  Everyone in the district has supported me and encourages me to live out my calling despite my limitations. Administration and teachers have supported me through challenges. 

I remember going to a retreat for professional development. We went to dinner, but it wasn’t accessible.  My principal said “we are going to figure out a way for you to be with us or none of us will go”.  A team of colleagues carried me and my wheelchair up several flights of stairs so that I could be part of the team.  The people I get to work with every day are some of the best people I know.  I am honored and eternally grateful to be able to live out my calling as a teacher through the Cabot School District.

Henry Hawkins, Cabot High School Principal: Ms. Gilbert always goes above and beyond to help her kids. She attends as many special events as possible. Watching her kids perform at choir concerts, band concerts, awards ceremonies, games and anything else her students are involved in. Most of all, she loves her kids! I mean, she really loves them and pushes them to succeed. She is awesome! She leads our Professional Learning Community (PLC) and is respected greatly among her peers. She also is a great supporter of the CHS administration. She is very deserving of this honor! 

Panther Spotlight: Sara Adkins

Panther Spotlight: Leah Gilbert

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Cabot Public Schools

Elementary Schools (Grades PreK-4)

Central Elementary
36 Pond Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3564
Fax: (501) 843-4503
Eastside Elementary
17 Bellamy Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3563
Fax: (501) 843-5619
Magness Creek Elementary
16150 Arkansas Hwy 5, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3565
Fax: (501) 843-7567
Mountain Springs Elementary
3620 Mountain Springs
Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3575
Fax: (501) 605-1300
Northside Elementary
814 West Locust Street,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3568
Fax: (501) 843-6032
Southside Elementary
2600 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3567
Fax: (501) 843-6229
Stagecoach Elementary
850 South Stagecoach Road,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3574
Fax: (501) 605-1221
Ward Central Elementary
1570 Wilson Loop Road,
Ward, AR 72176
(501) 743-3569
Fax: (501) 843-9744
Westside Elementary
1701 South Second Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3566
Fax: (501) 843-5802

High School (Grades 10-12)

Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 843-3562
Fax: (501) 843-4231

Academic Center of Excellence
(Grades 7-12)

Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3520
Fax: (501) 843-0283

Cabot Freshman Academy

Cabot Freshman Academy
18 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3576
Fax: (501) 941-1505

ACE North
(Grades 9-12)

401 North Lincoln, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3546
Fax: (501) 941-3156

Special Programs

404 North 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 743-3543
Fax: (501) 941-2613

Cabot Learning Academy

Cabot Learning Academy
813 West Locust, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3540
Fax: (501) 843-3138

Central Administrative Office

602 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 843-3363
Fax: (501)843-0576

Middle Schools (Grades 5-6)

Cabot Middle School North
1900 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3571
Fax: (501) 605-0413

Cabot Middle School South
2555 Kerr Station Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3570
Fax: (501) 941-7432

Junior High Schools
(Grades 7-8)

Cabot Junior High North
38 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3572
Fax: (501) 605-8472

Cabot Junior High South
38 Panther Trail, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3573
Fax: (501) 941-7746