The Columbia County school system will honor its top 27 educators at a Teacher of the Year Awards Dinner at West Lake Country Club on Thursday night.
Teachers of the Year from each of the system's elementary, middle, high and special schools will be recognized, in addition to Valery Dinkins - the overall winner from the county.
Dinkins, 28, received her undergraduate degree from Augusta State University and completed her Master of Education degree from the University of Georgia in 2000. Last year, she became a National Board Certified Teacher and has completed the course work to become a support specialist. That addition to her teaching certificate allows her to mentor other teachers, which she is doing this year. She also is attending Augusta State to earn her education leadership specialist degree.
Now beginning her third year at Harlem High School, Dinkins began her teaching career at Spirit Creek Middle School, then taught in Jackson County before moving back to the area and teaching at Hephzibah Middle School.
"I went to school in Columbia County, that's where my heart is and that's where I needed to be," said Dinkins, a 1993 graduate of Evans High School.
Dinkins is most noted for operating From the Heart, the school's poetry coffee house. The daylong event is the culminating activity for the poetry unit. During the unit, pupils develop a poetry portfolio, and while at the coffee house they read their poems aloud. She seeks donations from area grocery stores to provide drinks and snacks. Local celebrities also have been known to drop by to read their favorite poems.
"It shows them that poetry can be fun for everybody," Dinkins said.
View the picture story to read more about Columbia County's teachers of the years from each school.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.