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Chamber honors teachers of year
E-TOY lunch pic
Dawson County teachers of the year pose in front of their gift baskets after a lunch to honor them hosted by the chamber of commerce and Northside Hospital. - photo by Amy French Dawson County News

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce honored its top educators with a luncheon celebrating the teachers of the year and their families last week.

"Education is everybody's business," said Lynn Jackson, a representative from Northside Hospital of Forsyth who was a presenting sponsor of the event. Jackson welcomed attendees and praised the efforts of the school system.

Principals from each of the seven schools in Dawson County talked about the achievements and merits of the teachers chosen by their peers at the end of last year for the honor during the April 28 event.

Each teacher was presented with a certificate as their respective principal spoke.

"She loves what she does and it shows," said Principal Cindy Kinney about Black's Mill Elementary teacher of the year Linda Sperin.

Sperin has taught for 18 years at the kindergarten, second and third grade levels and has gone out of her way to spend time with her students in and out of the classroom.

She told the group after receiving a certificate from the chamber, that she is blessed to be in Dawson County-especially at Black's Mill.

Each teacher echoed the same sentiment about the Dawson County School System.

Cherie Powell, who was chosen from Riverview Middle School (now known as Dawson County Middle School) explained that she has worked in four different counties and that Dawson County was the best by far of all her experiences.

Jackson, whose grandson attends Black's Mill, also praised the dedication of the school system and what she has seen of it as a grandmother.

Principal Tracey Compton told the story of Kilough Elementary's teacher of the year Hillary Mullinax and how the school did not have an opening for her near the end of her student teaching. Compton, however, made it clear they wanted her there.

"I told her, do not accept a job at another school," Compton said laughing.

Julia Mashburn, principal for Riverview Elementary, told the attendees that RVES' teacher of the year, Lauren Stephenson, has a gentle humor and is always willing to help.

"She makes ordinary instruction come alive," Mashburn said.

The special education teacher was also recognized in November as the system-wide teacher of the year.
She told the group she is proud to represent the county as well as Riverview.

Robinson Elementary's teacher of the year, Brittany Gaddis, won the award in only her second year of teaching and said she was surprised to receive the honor.

Counselor Becca Wilson, who stood in for Principal Jeff Clapper, used a quote from Director of Student Support Janice Darnell about the DCJH teacher of the year, Christie Downs: "She is a sweet, quiet, powerhouse of a teacher."

Downs laughed when thanking everyone saying she was sure there had been a glitch when she was chosen.

Principal Richard Crumley of DCHS reflected on Michelle Gee's 17 (out of 19 years teaching) in Dawson County and what she means to the high school math students.

"I just want to say how honor and blessed I feel for getting teacher of the year," Gee said.

Each teacher was given a gift basket full of items donated by local businesses including things like gift cards, blankets, laptop cases and pool passes.