Twenty-seven year teaching veteran and 1999 National Teacher of the Year Andy Baumgartner could hardly be classified as a new teacher.
But he's new to the Columbia County School System this year, and he was one of about 160 teachers attending new teacher orientation this week.
"In any new system you go to there are going to be rules and regulations you need to know about and people you need to meet," said Baumgartner, who moved from Richmond County to teach kindergarten at Greenbrier Elementary School this year. "This helps you get a flavor of what the county is all about."
New teacher orientation took place July 16-18, with an agenda chocked full of policies, procedures and presentations by heads of the various support services - staff development, curriculum services, school nutrition, psychological services, maintenance and operations, to name a few.
Beau Samuelson, a recent college graduate who will be teaching at Riverside Middle School this year, said the event was a good way to meet people from the central office, and also administrators from his school.
Baronda Leogrande, the principal's secretary at Grovetown Middle School, helps decorate the banquet hall at Savannah Rapids Pavilion for the appreciation luncheon for new Coloumbia County teachers.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"It's better than showing up the first day of school, going, 'Here I am, now what do I do,"' he said.
The number of new teachers in the system is actually down this year, according to Personnel Director Connie Davis. Last year, the system hired 191 new teachers . Sixteen of this year's new teachers hired will be at Lakeside High School, mainly because of a large number of retirements at that school last year, and 10 will staff the new Grovetown Middle School.
Davis said 47 new positions were based on growth and new programs. The school system, she said, is in good shape for the beginning of the school year with only about five positions remaining to be filled.
Columbia County School Superintendent Tommy Price and school board members were on hand for a luncheon Wednesday at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, one of the highlights of the three-day session.
"Effective teaching is what it's all about," Price told the teachers. "We can't have any success outside of your success. You were chosen from a large pool of applicants for these positions; you were recognized as a high performing individuals."
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