Shaun Owen relinquished the designation of Columbia County Teacher of the Year on Thursday, but not the opportunity the title afforded her.
Greenbrier Middle School sixth-grade teacher Shaun Owen has wrapped up her year as Columbia County Teacher of the Year. The new teacher of the year, Euchee Creek Elementary's Leeann Fleischauer, was selected last Thursday.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The sixth-grade social studies teacher at Greenbrier Middle School was named the county's Teacher of the Year in September 2004 and was later named a finalist for the state honor. That ended at West Lake Country Club on Thursday when school officials named Euchee Creek Elementary School's Leeann Fleischauer as the new Teacher of the Year at a banquet.
What didn't end is Owen's desire to improve the state of education.
"Being a teacher of the year and a state finalist is an accolade that will give you a leg up," she said. "If you're having to compete for membership onto any committee it really helps you a great deal."
Since winning Teacher of the Year, Owen, 35, was appointed by Gov. Sonny Perdue to the Master Teacher and Academic Coach Implementation Committee, which assists new teachers in the classroom while recognizing established teachers.
"We want to be able to recognize them and to honor them for being unsung heroes," Owen said.
She said the clout that comes with a Teacher of the Year honor also helped her land a post on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, which polices teachers. Most importantly to Owen, the accolade let her show other teachers her teaching philosophy.
In the classroom, Owen uses PowerPoint presentations with animation, maps, video clips and audio clips to capture her pupils' attention.
"I'm a very firm believer that kids love learning visually," Owen said. "When you show them pictures and have sounds to go with it, it absolutely accentuates the learning. I believe the retention is much more. I believe they get a lot more interested in what they're doing."
Owen plans to continue extolling the virtues of technology in the classroom at symposiums in Georgia and Chicago in the coming months.
Although she enjoys teaching teachers, she said her heart is still with her students.
"The biggest thrill of anything I do is being able to see the kids daily," she said. "Them getting excited about learning and achieving is amazing."
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