Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dr. Branch Celebrates Great Teachers

Remember your favorite teacher? What makes that individual stand out above all the rest? Did he or she demonstrate a passion for their content, a passion for learning, or simply (and perhaps most importantly) a passion for your success? Did your favorite teacher care about you as an individual? Did he take time to get to know your hopes and dreams? Did she make learning fun and engaging? Did other teachers, parents, and students recognize her impact?

On Friday of last week, schools all over Oconee County named their 2012-2013 teachers of the year. These individuals most assuredly have a passion for teaching, an impact on students, and are clearly recognized by their peers as top notch. Today, we celebrate them!

It has long been my belief that the honor of being named “Teacher of the Year” at the school level is one of the most prestigious recognitions an educator can obtain. To be selected by your peers as a model for what others should aspire to become is a tremendous accomplishment. It demonstrates that you put kids first, teach with passion, turn passion into practice, and practice into results. The Teacher of the Year award recognizes those individuals selected as one of the best in their field.

Oconee County Schools is proud to recognize the 2012-2013 local school teachers of the year:
Oconee County Primary School Cathy Carver
Colham Ferry Elementary School Bill Nelson
High Shoals Elementary School Kristin Nelson
Malcom Bridge Elementary School Julie McCullers
Oconee County Elementary School Cecilia White
Rocky Branch Elementary School Julie Hayes
Malcom Bridge Middle School Katie Burnett
Oconee County Middle School Kevin Manglitz
North Oconee High School Richard Rosch
Oconee County High School Stefani Legall

I want to personally and publically thank these teachers, and all of our teachers, for the great work they do in our schools each day. The classroom is truly where the proverbial rubber meets the road. Research from educational scholars shows again and again that a tremendous teacher can and does have a lifelong impact on students and their achievement. We are blessed to have outstanding educators in Oconee County who receive great support from parents and the community, and students who are eager to learn and grow. These ingredients form a recipe for success and that success can be seen in the classrooms of our teachers of the year on a daily basis.

In closing, I want to return to the questions that started this column. I hope that you will take some time to reflect on your favorite teacher and share why that individual impacted you. I hope you might also take the time to contact that teacher, or the teachers listed above, and thank them for the work they are doing and the impact they are having. Please share your thoughts with me at

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