Teresa Conowal admits some of her teaching methods are uncoventional.
"Visitors to my classroom undoubtedly discover a rare and delightful experience on the journey through the learning process, complete with sights, sounds and interactive experiences for each of my students," Conowal wrote in an essay describing her teaching style.
Conowal, a second grade teacher at Kilough Elementary School, was named Dawson County School System Teacher of the Year during the Oct. 12 board of education meeting.
A lifelong resident of Dawson County, Conowal graduated from Dawson County High School in 1989 and later attended Piedmont College where she received her bachelor and master degrees in early childhood education.
Additionally, she holds a specialist (leadership) degree from Lincoln Memorial University, a national certification in Early Child Hood Studies and a Master Teacher Certification.
Earlier this year Conowal received a grant to help all second grade students get their writing professionally published.
"She is absolutely wonderful," said Lois Zangara, principal at Kilough. "She is so passionate about teaching and works to meet the needs of every student. She goes above and beyond in everything she does."
Conowal has spent her entire teaching career in Dawson County, where she has taught second and third grades.
"It has been such a blessing to grow up in this community and be afforded the opportunity to return here and teach," she said. "I knew that teaching would provide me with countless opportunities to make a positive impact in those lives around me."
Conowal said she was honored to be named both Kilough's teacher of the year and the system's overall teacher of the year.
Superintendent Keith Porter, who taught and coached Conowal in high school, agreed.
"We are very proud of those selected as our teachers of the year," Porter said. "Teresa has always displayed great leadership and an outstanding work ethic. Her abilities go far beyond the classroom, as she is presently writing a book. She has excelled as an educator and will represent our system in an excellent manner."
Conowal said she plans to stay in the classroom as long as she can.
"I love it and feel I have so much to learn still," she said. "Perhaps one day, I will consider leadership."
Conowal resides in Dawsonville with her husband, Chris, and five sons.