Columbia County will crown a new Teacher of the Year during the school system’s annual banquet on Thursday.
The winning Teacher of the Year will be chosen from among the five finalists named Aug. 14. They were chosen by an outside panel of educators from among the 32 Teachers of the Year nominated by fellow teachers in their schools.
An essay and in-class evaluations determine the winner for the county.
The finalists are Norm Cox, a history teacher at Lakeside High School; Mandy Guley, a third-grade teacher at River Ridge Elementary; Katie Holmes, a first-grade teacher at Baker Place Elementary; Angie McDaniel, a third-grade teacher at Stevens Creek Elementary and Barry O’Neill, a science teacher at Greenbrier High.
Holmes is the first Teacher of the Year from Baker Place Elementary and this is the school’s first year of eligibility for county-wide honors.
During Thursday’s banquet, the school system also will honor Teachers of the Year from the other 27 schools and recognize the county’s Media Specialist of the Year, Jennifer Pressley of Brookwood Elementary School.
Among those speaking at the West Lake Country Club banquet will be Christy Van Meter, the 2011-12 Columbia County Teacher of the Year.
The banquet is funded through contributions from the school system’s business partners.
Here are this year’s Teacher of the Year finalists, with recommendations from their principals:
Norm Cox is a remarkably talented educator who is changing lives at Lakeside. Visit his classroom on any given day and you will quickly observe validation that he is building a strong foundation for students’ futures through visits to the past. While employing meaningful and thoughtful planning, Mr. Cox actively involves students in learning which builds connections with the past – all while providing appropriate links to current events.
Mrs. Guley is an exceptional teacher on all levels. She is a master at differentiating instruction in her classroom. She also gives so much of herself to all students at RRE. She is involved in many extracurricular activities and always with a smile. She is a one-of-a-kind teacher and we are so proud of her.
Miss Holmes is a remarkable educator who brings a great deal of passion to her job. She is recognized for her dedication both inside and outside of the classroom, as well as her ability to provide young children with a strong foundation in all areas – academic, social and emotional. Her classroom is student-centered and aimed at improving the learning process. Miss Holmes is a risk-taker and is known for trying new teaching techniques to find success for all students. She works very hard to create hands-on learning opportunities that make learning fun and accessible.
Angie McDaniel brings energy to her classroom, her colleagues and our school in general. She researches and uses best practices and, more importantly, shares these classroom techniques with others.
Angie never gives up on any student, whether it is the struggling reader or the bored gifted student – she will get them motivated to succeed.
Dr. Barry O’Neill inspires his students to excel to levels far beyond their imagination. Just his personality, wit, wisdom and experiences draw the attention of students, anyone who drives a Volkswagen bus across the country and back has to have stories. He is one of those teachers that students want to take his classes knowing full well they will be challenged and pushed from the first day of class. More importantly, his peers recognize what takes place daily in his classroom, which is why Greenbrier High School is proud to have Dr. Barry O’Neill.