County’s best educators feted
Ken Watts | 8/30/2013, 6 a.m.
STONE MOUNTAIN DeKalb’s top principal, teacher and auxiliary worker picked up a gold-plated “Eddy,” $1,000 checks, laptop computers and printers plus $100 gift cards on Aug. 24 at the DeKalb School District’s first Academy of Educational Excellence Awards at the Evergreen Conference Center in Stone Mountain Park.
The three winners – presented with Eddy statuettes inspired by Hollywood’s Oscars – were picked from among the finalists in the district’s five regions. More than 200 employees were nominated from across the county.
The runners-up got $300 checks, $50 gift cards and a crystal trophy.
Stephanie Amey, Columbia High’s principal, got the Eddy for 2013 districtwide Principal of the Year.
Druid Hills High AP English teacher Alyssa Montooth was named Teacher of the Year, and Brockett Elementary School nurse Carole Rice was recognized as Auxiliary Employee of the Year.
Amey, with 31 years in education, including 15 as an administrator, accepted the award on behalf of the district’s principals.
“We work for children and it’s most important to nurture them, to pray for them, and show them the way they ought to go,” she said.
Montooth, a 13-year district employee who describes her teaching style as a combination of “routine and risk,” got a bit emotional as she accepted her trophy.
“What’s so beautiful about public education is that it gives everyone a chance to gain facility numerically and in terms of language,” she said. “And if you give kids that facility, they will be happier people, more successful people, and that changes the fabric of our entire culture.”
Rice, who is known for her humor and compassion, said her work is not a job.
“It’s a calling,” she said.
Her school nurse duties include monitoring students’ health needs and serving as their friend and confidante, she said.
“You get to see, observe and love kids as you can in no other way,” she said. “They come to you and share with you and tell you things that you really wouldn’t like to hear.”
Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond had high praise for the honorees.
“They represent the very best that we have to offer here in DeKalb, and we could not have asked for three more deserving or appropriate winners in each of those categories,” he said.
Here is a list of the finalists:
Principal of the Year
- Region I: Terry Segovis, International School and DeKalb Online Academy
- Region II: James Jackson, Tucker High
- Region III: Gregory Goodwin, Redan High
- Region IV: Dr. Yolanda Turner, Murphey Candler Elementary
Auxiliary Employee of the Year
- Region I: Jerlinda Smothers, Warren Technical High
- Region III: Charles Davis, Shadow Rock Center
- Region IV: Cindy Smith, Panola Way Elementary
- Region V: Latrice Foster, Kelley Lake Elementary
- Central Office: Karen Lowery, Finance Department
Teacher of the Year
- Region I: Bryan Boucher, Dunwoody High
- Region III: Mario Miner, Stephenson High
- Region IV: Tanya Arrington, Murphey Candler Elementary
- Region V: Keandria Foreman-Edwards, Clifton Elementary