When educators select a systemwide teacher of the year, they look for certain qualities.
“They look for a passionate teacher, they look for well-roundedness, they look for a depth of understanding,” said Lisa Perry, assistant superintendent of personnel for the Dawson County school system.
Perry said a special committee selected Kilough Elementary School’s Kay Wiley for all those reasons, and then some.
The second-grade teacher has been with the local district for 32 years and has taught at Kilough since it opened in 2001.
A teacher of the year committee chose Wiley from among seven schoolwide winners for the 2010-11 academic year.
Perry put together a committee who works outside the school system — administrators and teachers from neighboring counties.
Each candidate went through a 30-minute interview with the committee.
“That committee is charged with selecting our teachers of the year,” Perry said. “Then, they select a systemwide winner.”
The 2010-11 systemwide winner is no stranger to accolades. Wiley was also selected as the district’s top teacher in 1990-91.
However, it didn’t lessen the “shock” of being chosen this time around.
“I was certainly surprised,” Wiley said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be singled out, because we all work hard and we all are here every day doing the best we can for Dawson County students.”
It was no surprise to Wiley’s students, who seem to think the world of her.
“She’s good,” said 7-year-old Kaitlyn Morris. “She’s real, real good.”
Fellow 7-year-old Emma Wilson agreed.
“She’s awesome. She always helps us when we need help,” Wilson said.
Kilough’s assistant principal Tracey Compton sees “undying dedication” in Wiley.
“She doesn’t give up. If something doesn’t work, she keeps trying until she finds something that will work,” Compton said.
Wiley said she strives to be “caring but firm” in her work.
“It’s also important to teach individuals, not classes,” Wiley said. “You should get to know each child as a person and respect them as a person, not just as a learner, because every child is different.”
Perry said Wiley is in good company with the other 2010-11 teachers of the year.
“It’s the ultimate honor to be selected,” Perry said. “All of the work and the hours teachers put into what they do is not something the public generally sees. It’s a good opportunity to recognize them.”
The other teachers of the year for 2010-11 include Nickie Rogers at Dawson County High School; Jonathan Tinsley, Dawson County Middle School; Randall Harris, Riverview Middle School; Lauren Hinton, Hightower Academy; Becky Guisasola, Black’s Mill Elementary School; and Lori Hubbard, Robinson Elementary School.
Wiley will be eligible for statewide teacher of the year, which will be announced in May.