Teresa Conowal, a second grade teacher at Kilough Elementary School, was recently named as Teacher of the Year, but her accomplishments and recognitions don’t stop there.
On May 15, Governor Sonny Perdue announced the names of 112 new teachers who have earned the “Master Teacher” certification, a designation based on appreciable gains in student achievement.
“There are now 466 Master Teachers in Georgia who have demonstrated their expertise in helping our children achieve at higher levels,” said Perdue in a report released last month.
“They are masters at inspiring students to learn, and I am proud to recognize their tireless efforts and collective success in improving student achievement,” he added.
Lois Zangara, principal at Kilough Elementary School, noted Conowal’s achievement as a fitting recognition.
“Teresa (Conowal) brings a real understanding of children and of curriculum that she blends together into a wonderful masterpiece of teaching,” she said.
“She has a gift and a talent for teaching, which is evident when you see her in the classroom interacting with students. She is an artist, gifted educator and life-long learner with a passion for her students and what she does,” Zangara added.
Zangara noted that Conowal has been teaching at Kilough for seven years, since its opening, and that she has also taught at the other two elementary schools in the county, Black’s Mill and Robinson elementary schools.
“Her experience in teaching both second and third grades throughout all the elementary schools in the county have contributed to her becoming a master teacher,” Zangara said.
Georgia’s Master Teacher Certification Program was championed by Perdue during the 2005 legislative session and is coordinated by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
It provides statewide recognition to certified public school teachers in Georgia who have at least three years of teaching experience and who consistently demonstrate instructional excellence through student achievement.
Surprised with the news of being named as a Master Teacher, Conowal received the news the same day that she was named as Kilough’s Teacher of the Year.
“What I like most about teaching is getting the opportunity to get to know each student and their outside interests so I can bring that into the classroom,” Conowal said.
“It’s (teaching) all about relationships and the foundations placed in students that will carry over and make them successful once they leave my classroom,” she added.
Conowal noted that she learns as much from her students as they learn from her, and that she approaches each year and each group of students with a new slate.
“The most important part about my job is making sure every student reaches their potential,” she said.
Master Teachers are eligible to automatically renew their teaching certificates as long as they continue to qualify for Master Teacher status.
“The Georgia Professional Standards Commission is proud to administer the Master Teacher certification program,” said Kelly Henson, executive secretary of the standards commission, in last month’s report.
“We congratulate these teachers for their dedication and consistent leadership,” added Henson.
For more information on the Master Teacher program, visit www.gamasterteachers.org, or send an e-mail to MasterTeachers@gapsc.com.