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Westmont Elementary’s Short receives district honor

Posted: October 11, 2017 - 2:27am
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Westmont Elementary School principal Tami Flowers, (from left), fifth-grade teacher Andrea Short and Westmont Assistant Principal Angela Young celebrate after Short was named Teacher of the Year at the Columbia County School District’s banquet Thursday.

Andrea Short was overcome with emotion when her name was announced as the Columbia County School District's Teacher of the Year, during the annual banquet Thursday.

Short, a 5th grade teacher at Westmont Elementary was among three other finalists for the district honor, and was awarded the grand prize of driving a new BMW SUV free for a year.

"I am so overwhelmed and honored," Short said while seated inside the new BMW she will drive with free gas and insurance provided for a year. "We have such an amazing group of teachers in this county and for me to be recognized, it's just overwhelming. I can't think of a bigger honor than a teacher could ever want."

Westmont Elementary School principal Tami Flowers and Assistant Principal Angela Young were the first to hug Short after being named the winner, doling out hugs and congratulations, through tears.

"I don't have the words, I am just so proud of her," Flowers said. "She makes a difference with our kids every single day. You know, 5th grade, that transitional year is so difficult for students and she reached every single one of them in a real and honest way, an authentic way. I'm just so proud, she makes us look good."

Short was among three qualified finalists, including Courtney Owen from River Ridge Elementary and Tammy Harold of Riverside Elementary. Two teachers, Lorena Smith formerly of Grovetown Middle School and Suzanne Horne, formerly of Harlem High School, were promoted to administrative positions at different schools and were withdrawn from the finalist competition.

Columbia County Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jeff Carney, reminded the audience that all finalists, though they were removed from the "Battle for the Beamer" were top educators and would be awarded as such.

"What was so unique about this year was breaking tradition, because you cannot be a state teacher of the year if you are not in the classroom, so we want our teacher of the year to be able to be a state teacher of the year," Carney said.

All finalists, including Horne and Smith, were honored with a $25 Sparkle Express car wash gift cards, a plaque etched with their names from the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, a $300 gift from the Columbia County Board of Education, $175 giftcard from Kroger, a new iPad, and the $1,000 towards new technology of their choice in the classroom.

All Teachers of the Year, one from each school, was awarded a $25 gift certificate to Sparkle Wash, a $150 gift from the Columbia County Board of Education, along with a $1,000 technology grant to fund equipment of their choice for their classroom. At the banquet, each teacher was also honored with a plaque and recognition from the Columbia County Board of Education.

Short was the overall winner for the district and received the keys from Taylor BMW, and will receive complete insurance coverage and free gas from ACHS insurance for a year.

Short will go on to compete for the State Teacher of the year.

"I have always said, Westmont is my home," Short said. "My colleagues voted me here and that's what means the most to me is that they recognize my passion for what I do and I wouldn't be here without them."

After the announcement Thursday, Short got comfortable in her new BMW ready to go pick up her two sons.

"I am going to pick up my boys and go for a ride," Short said excitedly.

 

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