Muscogee 2014 Teacher of the Year nominees announced

mrice@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 5, 2014 

The Muscogee County School District's 2014 Teacher of the Year nominees were presented Wednesday during a ceremony in the Columbus Public Library.

The faculty at each of the district's 57 schools and centers selected a teacher for the Teacher of the Year program, conducted by the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation.

"This is a great day for you to feel proud of the work that you do," Betsy Covington, the foundation's chairwoman told the nominees gathered in the library's auditorium.

The winner will be announced May 1 at the annual gala in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center. Before then, the nominees will be treated to a breakfast with the national teacher of the year in March.

Superintendent David Lewis told the nominees, "You are in every respect a model for other teachers and in whom we have the greatest pride."

Two of the nominees -- Dionne Winston-Bolden of Dawson Elementary and Lydia Winston of Rigdon Road Elementary -- are sisters, so they can look at each other as models of teaching excellence.

"Oh, my God, I was so excited to be chosen to represent Rigdon," said Lydia, 50, who teaches second grade, "but when I found out my sister had been chosen, too, it just meant so much more."

"It's an honor to be nominated in and of itself," said Dionne, 38, who teachers fourth-grade English language arts and social studies, "but to be nominated with my sister is icing on the cake."

They come from a long line of educators. Their mother is a retired teacher in New Orleans and once was named her school's top teacher.

Lydia came to Columbus in 2001, and Dionne followed in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina flooded her school district.

"She's always been my hero," Dionne said of Lydia. "I've always looked up to her."

Then she added with a laugh, "I've worn her shoes; I've worn her makeup; I've worn her perfume."

Their sisterhood boosts them professionally and personally. They brainstorm on lessons and trade teaching tips. They also watch each other's children when they have meetings to attend or errands to run.

"When Lydia was in college, I was a first-grader," Dionne said. "So we're closer now. I have to depend on her, and she has to depend on me."

And they give the same reason for teaching:

"I love the children," Lydia said. "I love to watch them learn."

Dionne added, "They come in as clean slates. I just love to see them grow."

The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering educational excellence by focusing on teachers who are innovative and exceptionally effective. The foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million since its inception 18 years ago to such educators through the Teacher of the Year program and grants. Those grants include selecting teachers to receive more technology and learn how to better use it in the classroom, and selecting teachers for a summer session of professional development at Harvard University.

IF YOU GO

What: Muscogee County School District 2014 Teacher of the Year gala

When: May 1; reception starts at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.

Where: Columbus Convention & Trade Center

Tickets: $35, on sale April 14-25 at the Springer Opera House box office

MCSD 2014 TEACHER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES

Aaron Cohn Middle: Amanda Reynolds

Allen Elementary: Bruce Fussell

Arnold Magnet Academy: Darlene Cook

Baker Middle: Latshia Stephens-Archibald

Blackmon Road Middle: Laura Perryman

Blanchard Elementary: Monica Harris

Brewer Elementary: Amelia Hall

Britt David Magnet Academy: Susan DuBois

Carver High: Pierre Coffey

Clubview Elementary: Min Hae Hernandez

Columbus High: Maribeth Hood

Cusseta Road Elementary: Shantae Crawford

Davis Elementary: Tosha Leake

Dawson Elementary: Dionne Winston-Bolden

Dimon Elementary Magnet Academy: Dacia Irvin

Double Churches Elementary: Valerie Black

Double Churches Middle: Melissa Gray

Downtown Elementary Magnet Academy: Courtney Heath

Eagle Ridge Academy: Charlotte Mills

Early College Academy: Tekeshia Hill

East Columbus Magnet Academy: Courtney Thornton

Eddy Middle: Angeleque Johnson-Borom

Edgewood Student Services Center: Dianne White

Forrest Road Elementary: Bethany Getz

Fort Middle: Madeline Boykin

Fox Elementary: Myya Washington

Gentian Elementary: Paige Bowden

Georgetown Elementary: Jeremy Williams

Hannan Elementary Magnet Academy: Ashley Davis

Hardaway High: Charmaine Martin

Johnson Elementary: Jeremiah Edwards

Jordan High: Robert Harris

Kendrick High: Angela Josey

Key Elementary: Sherah Cash

Lonnie Jackson Academy: Stephanie Jones

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary: Yolanda Arnold

Mathews Elementary: Pamela Weldon

Midland Academy: Brandy Sipling

Midland Middle: Kimberly Martin

Muscogee Elementary: Todernesia Ford

North Columbus Elementary: Kristin Glenn

Northside High: Tamara Garner

Reese Road Leadership Academy: Laura Leigh Rucker

Richards Middle: Melissa Phelps

Rigdon Road Elementary: Lydia Winston

River Road Elementary: Danielle Graves

Rothschild Leadership Academy: Shirley Jernegons-Love

Shaw High: Christie Leveille

South Columbus Elementary: Donessa Moore

Spencer High: Dolly Baker

St. Elmo Center for the Gifted: Barry Cosby

St. Marys Road Magnet Academy: Shandreka West

Veterans Memorial Middle: Kelly Roberts

Waddell Elementary: Anna Walden

Wesley Heights Elementary: Angel Vines

Woodall Program: Teresa O'Donnell

Wynnton Arts Academy: Stacey McClary

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