DCSS releases list of eight Teacher of The Year finalists

Teacher of the Year Nominees

High Schools

*Elizabeth Arnold — Albany High

Helen Koneri — Dougherty Comprehensive High

Jamine Turner — Monroe Comprehensive High

*Gary Brian Collier — Westover Comprehensive High

Middle Schools

James Middleton — Albany Middle

Kawanna Jones — Dougherty International Middle

Rhonda Harden — Merry Acres Middle

Natalie Poole — Radium Springs Middle Magnet

Cindy Marshall — Robert Cross Middle Magnet

Shaun Foreman — Southside Middle

Elementary Schools

Kenyette Shelton — Alice Coachman Elementary

Amber Davis — International Studies Elementary

Tiffany James — Jackson Heights Elementary

*Terri Sue Brown — Lake Park Elementary

*Phillip Burns — Lamar Reese Magnet

*Carolyn Edwards Ford — Lincoln Elementary Magnet

Kristi Timmons — Live Oak Elementary

Carolyn Harris — Magnolia Elementary

*Felita Cobb Lockette - Martin Luther King, Jr . Elementary

*Gistacy Brown — Morningside Elementary

Jessica Rose Edwards - Northside Elementary

Ashley Reese — Radium Springs Elementary

*Veronica Reese — Sherwood Acres Elementary

Kamina Martin — Sylvester Road Elementary

Camiella Payton — Turner Elementary

Chassidy Vaughn — West Town Elementary

Zeporia Bass — Albany Ear

ALBANY, Ga. -- The Dougherty County School System has released the names of 27 schools' respective 2012 Teachers of the Year -- including eight finalists for the system's Teacher of the Year.

The eight finalists include two high school and six elementary school teachers.

The Finalists are:

Elizabeth Arnold, Albany High School

Arnold has been a physical science and biology teacher at Albany High since 2005.

She holds a B.S. in Zoology from Fort Valley State University and an M/A. in Human Development from the University of Missouri.

She says her greatest contribution to the field of education is "my sense of optimism despite the challenges."

Gary Brian Collier, Westover High School

Collier has been a History, Economics, Government and Debate/Speech at Westover since 2007.

He holds a B.A in History from the University of Georgia and an M.A. in Education from the University of Phoenix.

Collier says he "constantly strives to bridge the connection between the school, the home and the community. My students come to me on the cusp of adulthood and leave my classroom two years later actively planning their careers."

Gistacy Veronique Brown, Morningside Elementary

Brown has been at Morningside since 2007 been an Early Intervention Teacher since 2010.

She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Albany State University, and a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction and an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership from Nova University.

Brown believes that "teaching is a life-long commitment to the personal, emotional and Academic needs of students. It is my genuine belief that every child is unique and capable of learning."

Terri Sue Brown, Lake Park Elementary

Brown has been at Lake Park since 2003 and teaches first and second grades in all subjects and third grade reading and language arts.

She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southwestern State University.

Brown says "I am proud to say I am an educator that strives each and every day to reach into the soul of every child and light the fire of learning and believing."

Phillip Marquis Burns, Lamar Reese Magnet School of the Fine Arts.

Burns has been a third grade science teacher at Lamar Reese since 2008.

He holds a B.S. and an M.S. In Education from Albany State University.

"I believe that each child who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to mature emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially." Burns said. "It is my desire as an educator to help students meet their fullest potential in these areas by providing an environment that is safe, supports risk-taking and invites creative ideas."

Carol Edwards Ford, Lincoln Elementary Magnet

Ford has been a math teacher at Lincoln Magnet for the past 12 years.

She holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Tuskegee University and an M.S. in Early Childhood from Troy State University. She also holds an Alternate Ed.S in Teacher Leadership from Walden University.

"There has not been a day in my life that I have felt I made the wrong decision (to become an educator)," Ford says. "It is my hope that I plant a desire to obtain success deep in the souls of my students. As an educator, I feel that I am leaving a legacy and making a contribution on which no price tag can be placed, or no trophy can be awarded."

Felita Cobb Lockett, M.L. King Elementary

Lockett has been with the Dougherty County School System for 21 years, the last 12 teaching all subjects.

She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Fort Valley State University and a M.A. in Administration and Supervision from Albany State University. She also holds an Ed.S in Instructional Supervision from Albany State.

"As a teacher, I strive every day to provide the same dedication, motivation, commitment, preparation, encouragement, praise, support and leadership that my first grade teacher provided me," Lockett said. "To know I have impacted their (students) lives my making it a little better is confirmation that we as teachers change lives."

Veronica A. Reese, Sherwood Acres Elementary

An educator with 13 years experience, Reese has been a kindergarten teacher at Sherwood Acres since 2007.

She holds a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Paine College and an M.Ed in Curriculum Instruction from Leslie University. She also holds a Ed.S in Administrative Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University.

"As a teacher I have the opportunity to influence students in a positive way, helping them experience education in a positive way." Reese said. "If I influence one child I influence the entire community."

Northside Elementary's Chris Jones was the Dougherty County School System's Teacher of the year in 2011.

The systems 2012 TOY will be named May 8 at a banquet at Live Oak Elementary.

Judges for the 2012 TOY were Walter Judge, Sanford Hillsman, Chandu Kuntawala, Corene Hughley, Ashley Moore, Victoria Darrisaw, Dawn Hobby and Joe Davis.


tocar 3 years, 7 months ago

What makes Dawn Hobby qualify as a judge for TOY? She is not an advanced degreed individual in the field of education. Maybe a joke.


robverner 3 years, 7 months ago

tocar: Are you implying that you need an "advanced degree in the field of education" in order to tell if a teacher's doing a good job? That's the real joke.


Amazed2 3 years, 7 months ago

Dawn Hobby as a Judge for the Teacher of the Year!!! Oh Come on Albany is that the best you can do?? Guess nobody else wanted their name associated with the DCSS. Oh Well!! By the way does she live in Dougherty Counts or Lee County??


tocar 3 years, 7 months ago

I think she may not live in Dougherty County.


PatrickY2K 3 years, 7 months ago

The real joke is that the Teacher of the Year is selected by a single observation, no matter the degree of qualification of the judges. Please don't pretend that the TOY is necessarily the most effective teacher, he or she is just the one that made the best impression in a snapshot. If Dawn Hobby is willing to donate her time to judge, then just say "thank you" - she's as qualified as anyone to rate a teacher using this format.


daddiemoon 3 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure why some people feel that "Dawn Hobby" need a degree to judge a contest. She will be just fine...as long as she does not have to listen to any dumb stupid remarks from the so called leader of the school system or his fiunkie.... the not so sober assistant...


Jacob 3 years, 7 months ago

Heck, there are no qualifications to enroll at ASU as a student, or to serve as chairman of the school board, or to serve as chief or the school police. Why should this be any different? Give her a pass too. After all, this is Albany. We are not capable of competing on a level playing field, so the rules shouldn't apply to us.


tywebb 3 years, 7 months ago

the whole thing is a joke. the toty at each school is voted on by his/her fellow teachers. HOW do they know if that person is a good teacher? Do teachers go and observe other teachers? i'll let you in on a little secret......NO, they don't! MAYBE 1% of teachers will observe other teachers. the voting is based on who each teacher likes more. some schools don't let teachers win it twice.....just to be "fair". Shoot, if a teacher is the best, they should be able to win it every year! it really is quite silly. It doesn't matter who the judges will be.


fullcourtpress 3 years, 7 months ago

I will let you in on a little secret....TEACHERS DO OBSERVE EACH OTHER...as a matter of fact we are the only profession that is not governed by itself...AMA is governed by Doctors. Lawyers are governed by lawyers....Nurses are governed by nurses....we are governed by politicians...Are you a teacher?? Based on your comments you are not or if so not a good one....An effective teacher wants to know what strategies others are using that works....now do all of us do that....no they do not....but most of us do....We get all the blame and none of the credit and little pay for what we do....


Mystified94 3 years ago

one of the finalist Phillip Burns has now been arrested for molesting many high school teenage boys. WTG Albany!!!


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