How good are Columbia County's schools?
Pretty darn good, we think. And judging from a couple of major announcements this past week, the rest of the state agrees.
Lakeside High School was once again named a Georgia School of Excellence. And Greenbrier Middle School teacher Shaun Owen made the cut to become one of 10 finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
This is the third time Lakeside has received the honor. This one is especially significant because the state changed the rules to put less emphasis on the quality of a school's application for the honor and more on the school's actual test scores and achievement.
"Schools like us have made our reputation anyway, and winning school of excellence further solidifies the fact that we're cranking out top-notch students," says Jeff Carney, Lakeside's principal.
Owen's honor is an individual recognition, but it sheds a welcome spotlight on the quality of educators in Columbia County's schools. The lives and futures of the county's children are far to important to entrust to mediocre teachers; people like the innovative Owen represent the best of the best, and the good news is that she's just one of many great teachers the county has to offer.
As a result, she'll carry the hopes of many of her fellow educators with her as she awaits the March announcement of state teacher of the year.
The downside? The honor carries with it a one-year sabbatical for the winner to tour the state, sharing with other teachers the secrets of his or her success. We'd hate to think that next year's Greenbrier Middle sixth-graders could miss out on Owen's exciting classes!
Still, best of luck to Owen. And congratulations to Lakeside. Both have made the community very proud.
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