Northside teacher Christine Powell had two tables of relatives, plus several teachers and administrators from her school, present to congratulate her on being named the 2009 Muscogee County Teacher of the Year Thursday night.
But there were still some people missing from the gala event, she said.
“My students are truly the ones who need to be here tonight,” she said after receiving the award from the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation.
Powell was chosen from 61 honorees representing each school in the district. She will receive $1,000, a one-year lease on a car from Rob Doll Nissan and a billboard in her honor. She will also represent the school district for the Georgia Teacher of the Year.
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Powell teaches 10th-grade English, Advanced Placement English, Advanced Placement art history and journalism. She also helps the school’s drama program and the annual dinner theater and serves on the school’s leadership board.
Marion Scott, a member of MEEF’s Teacher of the Year selection committee, said Powell written application for the honor was well done, but what really impressed her was the six-year teacher’s performance in the classroom.
“I watched her make the Canterbury Tales come alive for a group of high school students,” Scott said. “The recognition and the understanding was in their eyes.
“Her passion really comes through. She’s the kind of teacher we all wished we had.”
Northside principal James Wilson said Powell gives her attention to every child, regardless of their skill level. “It’s every day. It’s the same energy, the same commitment,” he said.
Powell said Wilson told her to go home early Thursday to get ready for the event.
“But I was not about to do that,” she said, saying that she was had work to do with her journalism class. She didn’t prepare a speech and came to the podium in tears, not expecting the honor.
“Teachers are the work horses that don’t always get recognized,” she said.
Her aunts, Judy Thomas and Brenda Gilkey, weren’t surprised.
“We knew months ago she was going to win,” Thomas said. Thomas said her niece always talks about her students and how they are growing and learning.
“She just loves the kids. She calls them ‘my kids’. Some teachers say, ‘those kids,” she said.
Powell’s kids will get thanks for their part in her success, she said — then it’s back to work. Exams loom.
“I think my students deserve thanks. I’ll celebrate with them, and then we’ll get busy for the AP Art History exam,” she said.