The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce honored Dawson County School System’s Teachers of the Year during the chamber luncheon at Peach Brandy Cottage Thursday.
Each year, the chamber holds a special luncheon to pay tribute to those teachers who made an impact on the lives of students, as well as on their peers. The teachers of the year are elected by their fellow teachers.
Black’s Mill Elementary School Principal Julia Mashburn introduced Lora Wright as Black’s Mill’s Teacher of the Year.
Instead of giving her personal thoughts on Wright, Mashburn quoted comments from students who spoke in favor of Wright.
“She loves to teach,” some of Wright’s students said.
“She does what’s right for the students. She always does what needs to be done, and she wants to make sure the kids are safe,” Mashburn added.
Wright said she was honored to be named teacher of the year, especially since it is a recognition that is voted on by her peers.
“We all work hard at our jobs and I believe that teaching is such a calling,” she said. “One of the most important things about being a teacher is realizing that all students have the capacity to learn and can be taught.”
Lois Zangara, principal of Kilough Elementary School, said she was honored to present Holly Huber as teacher of the year from Kilough.
“She brings an attitude of whatever it takes to teach her students,” Zanagara said. “Holly is one of the many people I look forward to seeing in the hallway everyday.”
As a former flight attendant, Huber compared her teaching career to that of earning her wings. “We as educators work in the sky on the airplane earning wings for our students.”
Thanking the chamber for recognizing teachers during the luncheon, Huber expressed gratitude to the chamber and its members for its support of education.
Robinson Elementary’s counselor and former teacher of the year, Lance Stiffler, introduced music teacher Jennifer Wright as Robinson’s 2008-2009 Teacher of the Year.
“Jennifer (Wright) loves children and loves her job,” Stiffler said. “She puts in countless hours of hard work with her students, and she is the ultimate team player.”
Wright expressed that being named teacher of the year was a huge honor and thanked her peers for electing her as teacher of the year.
“I’m serious about sharing music with our children,” Wright said. “Teaching is what I love to do.”
Although not present to receive her award, eighth grade teacher Nicki Harvey was recognized as the teacher of the year from Dawson County Middle School.
Dr. Mark Merges, principal of Dawson County Middle School, accepted Harvey’s award on her behalf and said that Harvey is a very dedicated person.
“She has a great personality and is loved by everyone. She goes above and beyond and I am impressed by her everyday,” Merges added.
Kristi Gerrells, assistant principal of Riverview Middle School, was pleased to introduce her friend and co-worker Carmen Cunningham as teacher of the year.
Gerrells described special education teacher Cunningham as passionate, dependable and Riverview’s “go to girl.”
“What I love most about her is that she is a visionary,” Gerrells said. “She is always thinking of another way to teach our kids.”
Cunningham said that there is nothing better than living and working in Dawson County.
“Whether my daughter is the best or worst behaved, or whether she is the smartest in her class or she struggles, I know that she will be looked after and taken care of in the Dawson County School System,” Cunningham said.
Also unable to be present at the luncheon, Beth Hamby was recognized as teacher of the year from Dawson County High School.
Accepting the award on her behalf, Dawson County High School Principal Wayne
Chelf was complimentary of the school’s Web design and yearbook teacher.
Chelf was honored to represent Hamby and described her as a lady and a teacher of the highest caliber.
“Beth is a humble individual,” Chelf said. “She goes above and beyond what is required of her.”
Hamby was also named the System-Wide Teacher of the Year for Dawson County.
Bringing the luncheon to a close, superintendent Nicky Gilleland said the business of education is just like many others in the community in the sense that it is “all about relationships, all about service.”
“You’re relationship with us is important. We need a strong school system as well as a strong business community, and we thank you for all of your support. Everything that you’ve done for us has helped us make a better school system.”