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Albany State University professor honored

From left, 1978 Teacher of the Year and Albany State faculty member John McRae, 2013 Teacher of the Year Lauren Eckman, President/CEO of Georgia Power and Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Board Chair Paul Bowers and 2005 Teacher of the Year Chase Puckett stand at the 20th anniversary reception.

From left, 1978 Teacher of the Year and Albany State faculty member John McRae, 2013 Teacher of the Year Lauren Eckman, President/CEO of Georgia Power and Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education Board Chair Paul Bowers and 2005 Teacher of the Year Chase Puckett stand at the 20th anniversary reception.

ALBANY, Ga. -- An Albany State University professor who trains students to become teachers was honored recently. John McRae, a retired principal and instructor at Albany State University's Cairo site, was recognized by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education at its 20th anniversary celebration in Atlanta.

The organization awards educators in the state with "Teacher of the Year" awards. McRae is a 1978 Teacher of the Year.

"He is a long-time supporter, advisor and council member," said Georgia Partnership Executive Director Steve Dollinger. "When it comes to standing up for rural education, John has been and continues to be a champion. We feel his words of wisdom that go back to a different Georgia are enlightening."

As an eighth-grader, McRae read a book written by an educator from rural Tennessee, then chose to pursue a career in the profession.

The former Valdosta City Schools sixth-grade teacher retired as a principal in 2005.

"Trying to do the right thing is not always popular," he wrote in a publication to commemorate the anniversary celebration. "It was tough working for superintendents and Boards of Educations who lacked backbone. In an example I will never forget, they admitted black children but then put them in separate classrooms and called it grouping, as opposed to what it really was, segregation. That was wrong! You have to have a strong superintendent and a school board with education sense to have a good school."

Twelve "Teachers of the Year" were honored along with McRae at a reception held at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library.