Teach It Forward 2023

PBHS teacher/alumna named 2023 McDonald’s Outstanding Educator
Posted on 12/19/2023
Tony Seabaugh, Crystal Huddleston and Cheryl Farrow.

At least one R-I teacher has been named a McDonald’s Outstanding Educator annually since the advent of the regional recognition program four years ago.

Poplar Bluff native Crystal Huddleston, a PBHS business instructor since 2012, was selected on Friday, Dec. 8, as a finalist among 1,750 submissions in a multi-state service area, according to McDonald’s spokesperson Amanda Campbell.

“Crystal loves her students so much,” stated department colleague Pam Davis in her nomination. “She is the most caring person I know. Her goal is beyond education but to make them a better human!”

In her role as a parent, Christi Todd—Oak Grove library assistant—additionally submitted Huddleston’s name after consulting with her son Carson, presently in his senior year.

“Mrs. Huddleston is a caring, loving teacher with great morals,” Todd wrote. “She always goes above and beyond. Both of my sons have loved her. Without a doubt she deserves this award!”

Huddleston, who also serves as the Future Business Leaders of America adviser, received a $100 Visa gift card, coffee mug that reads “best teacher ever,” and 25 McDonald's 'Teach it Forward' free menu item vouchers to be distributed to students of her choosing.

“I plan to pay it forward with my coupons and give them to students that are trying their best and going the extra mile,” Huddleston said. “I was so excited to receive this award and humbled by all the kind comments from our community!”

When McDonald’s of Poplar Bluff made the announcement on Facebook, numerous former students commented on the post about how Huddleston was “one of the best” and “so deserving.” Mia Crowson Cooper, another parent, added: “She’s a blessing to PB and our children. Thank you Crystal Huddleston for all you did ‘extra’ for my girls!”

The award program is sponsored by Andi Hilburn-Vaini from West Plains, the owner/operator of 28 total restaurants across the region including Poplar Bluff’s three McDonald’s locations. Past R-I Outstanding Educator recipients have included Ashley Blume of Oak Grove and Lake Road’s Teresa Hefner last year; Aleanna Moore of Middle School in 2021; and Amy Ethridge of O’Neal during the inaugural rollout.


Cutline: Crystal Huddleston (center) of PBHS is presented the 2023 Outstanding Educator award on Friday, Dec. 8, by Tony Seabaugh, McDonald’s area supervisor, and Director of Operations Cheryl Farrow.

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