Friday, March 20, 2015

Congrats to the Teachers of the Year for HCPS!

HCPS Teachers of the Year!
Last night was our annual HCPS Teacher of the Year Celebration!  I must admit that this is one of my favorite events.  It is an honor to recognize individuals who go above and beyond every day to make a difference in the lives of children.  I had the opportunity to speak to this year's honorees during the program and I've included my comments below:

Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, is known for stating that “great teachers lead with both their heads and their hearts.” It is our great pleasure tonight to honor fifteen Henry County Public Schools teachers who do just that. You dedicate countless hours to your students, ensuring that they are fully prepared for what lies ahead when they leave your classrooms. You spend evenings and weekends planning for your students and serving our community in a variety of ways. You exemplify leadership for your students and your colleagues.

Karl Fisch reminds us that we are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don't yet order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet. To accomplish this monumental task each day, you work to solve immediate problems for so many of our students. Your provision of advice, love, and even food and clothing for those who need it shows each student that, no matter the size of the problem, a teacher is there to help.

You guide students through each day with your expertise and passion. Collaboration and creativity are infused in even the smallest of moments. Though it may not always feel like it, they notice and their families notice. They notice your concern for them and it matters. Likewise, you are here this evening because your colleagues notice. They notice your tireless dedication and excellence in all that you do.  At this time, I would like to share some commendations that our teachers of the year have earned from students, parents, community members, and their colleagues:

Axton Elementary’s Melissa “Mitzi” Martin: “Mitzi’s passion for serving others has not waned in all the years I have known is exhausting, but she has revealed a strong and dedicated character through this tumultuous year.”

 –Dr. Mike Hatfield, Pastor

Bassett’s William “Willie” Martin: “…from Mr. Martin, I saw firsthand how important it is to love what I do and to share that same passion with the young people in my classroom. Without knowing it, he became my mentor - my example to follow as I continue through the career I dearly love as well.” –LaDonna Varner, former student/current colleague

Campbell Court Elementary’s Bonita Reynolds: “Each child who comes into her classroom is welcome and is made to feel uniquely special. Building student confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth is embedded into her teaching style.” –Lynda Adkins, Speech/Language Pathologist

Center for Community Learning’s Alan Hobbs: “Alan possesses a genuine interest in working with students and he derives a great deal of self-gratification from helping them reach their career goals.” –Mary Thomas, Counselor

Collinsville Primary’s Phyllis Warrick: “Each child is treated with kindness and gentleness that allows him/her to feel a very warm and special level of comfort. Phyllis gives each child the opportunity to truly feel appreciated and special. No matter what the child’s background, Phyllis helps him/her gain a feeling of self-worth and value.” 

–Patricia Nevins, Teacher

Drewry Mason’s Lisa Eanes: “Lisa often arrives at school well before the required time and always spends countless hours after school working on ideas and plans to motivate and inspire her students. She communicates daily with parents in a very professional and inviting manner.” 
–Regina McMillian, Teacher

Fieldale-Collinsville’s Janie Collins: “The rapport Janie has with the students is amazing. She treats every student with respect and offers a helpful hand to each student. She believes that every student can be successful in their learning and she will go to any length to help them succeed…I have seen students waiting for her at her door at 8:00 to ask for help and she drops her book bag down and helps them before classes even begin.” 

–Amy Ferguson, Teacher

GW Carver’s Patricia Brockway: “Mrs. Brockway has sent me so many encouraging notes and wishes throughout my school career that could have ended in fifth grade, but once she cares about you that doesn’t stop at the end of the school year. She helped me through one of the hardest times of my life and has been one of my biggest fans during the best ones.” 
–Wes Brown, BHS freshman

John Redd Smith’s Amy Elliott: “When you walk into her classroom, one can automatically feel the sense of community and family that has been established…the rapport she has with her students is extraordinary. It is evident the students know the true love she has for each one of them and her willingness to fight for them to ensure they are provided with the love and support they deserve.” 
–Ben Boone, Principal

Laurel Park’s Melissa Pace: “Her willingness to adapt curriculum to meet the needs of all learners is unmatched. She consistently fosters a safe and caring inclusive environment for all students, including varying ability levels of students. Mrs. Pace not only inspires students to delve into the world of college and career readiness, but she inspires and supports her colleagues in their journey to become better educators.” 

–Emily Roop, Assistant Principal

Magna Vista’s Margaret Pritchett: “Mrs. Pritchett is a true “Warrior” and shows her school spirit by attending her students’ ball games and extracurricular school functions. She puts in long hours at school planning lessons, collaborating with teachers, monitoring her students’ progress, and communicating with parents.” 
–Debbie Bliss, Special Education Coordinator

Mt. Olivet’s Stacey Roach: “I loved the way she read stories to the entire classroom, but then I felt like I was the only one in the room. She made learning exciting and relevant. She moved my frog once and I was devastated because I thought she was the next best thing since turning a triple play! She was the only teacher that ever came to watch me play baseball.” 

–Mitchell Turner, former student

Rich Acres’ Sheri Marlowe: “She is genuine with her students; she is first to volunteer when needed and spends countless hours preparing for her class even if it means her family has to take a back seat. She is extremely passionate about teaching and it shows in everything that she does.” 
–Jennifer Bukowski, Speech/Language Pathologist

Sanville’s Cheryl Hobbs: “I have worked with many musicians in my lifetime and I can honestly say that there is no one that has the passion for their job like Mrs. Cheryl Hobbs. From her daily interaction with her students to the planning stages of music selection and lesson plans, she truly is passionate about what she does as an educator.” 

–Trey Harris, BHS Band Director

Stanleytown’s Sherell Hodge: “She is as excited for our children to be successful as we are, which is so refreshing. She embodies endless energy and excitement in her position, always searching for new ways to help her students succeed. She is a wonderful teacher that I and my children will always remember as their first sweet step toward a successful education.” 

–Carrie Pinnix, parent

As Carl Jung once said, “One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings…warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Our school community is grateful for your devotion to the vision each student has for him/herself and the lengths to which you go to ensure that that vision is a reality for the young men and women of Henry County.

Thank you for your commitment to education, study, and service. Your tireless dedication to the futures of the children in our community is a model for the colleagues who work alongside you each day.

Congratulations to all of our Teachers of the Year.  Our Students are so lucky to have educators like you!

Goal 2: High Quality Professionals