The Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation on Wednesday announced the nominees for the Muscogee County School District 2018 Teacher of the Year award.
“MEEF is honored to acknowledge these 57 outstanding teachers as the 2018 Teacher of the Year honorees,” retired educator Carole Rutland, the foundation’s chairwoman, said in the news release. “Their commitment is the very foundation of our educational system. Their impact and influence on students is phenomenal, and we are privileged to recognize and reward them.”
The nominees are:
Allen: Jacqueline White
Blanchard: Melissa Phelps
Brewer: Judy Woods
Britt David: Donna Shelton
Clubview: Luanne Ardovino
Davis: Mimi Reese
Dawson: Rachel Potenza
Dimon: Kelsey Prentice
Dorothy Height: Tomeka Trussell
Double Churches: April Gallahair
Downtown: Lindsay Tassoni
Eagle Ridge: Erin Sizemore
Forrest Road: Jasmine Pernell
Fox: Vernice McSwain
Gentian: Veronica Murray
Georgetown: Ashley Scott
Hannan: Jennifer Richardson
Johnson: Susan Elder
Key: Florence Evermon
Lonnie Jackson: Kimberly Porter
Martin Luther King Jr.: Vicel Jones
Mathews: Lindsay Hood
Midland: Alison Hess
North Columbus: Melanie Gouine
Reese Road: Heather Bolin
Rigdon Road: Libby Bonin-Campos
River Road: Tiffany Isabel
South Columbus: Teresa Mims
St. Marys Road: Erin Herringdine
Waddell: Kathy Shelby
Wesley Heights: Draveious Hurston-White
Wynnton: Margaret Hines
Aaron Cohn: Jeremy Pownall
Arnold: Troy Herlihy
Baker: Latisha Stephens-Archibald
Blackmon Road: Alicia Allen
Double Churches: Kimberly Evans
East Columbus: Arlys Clayborn
Eddy: Shamar Bedford
Fort: Esperanza Hood
Midland: Jeremiah Edwards
Richards: Patricia Blair
Rothschild: Ebonè Cutts
Veterans Memorial: Lindsey Woods
Carver: David Evans
Columbus: Amanda Hefner
Early College: Dawnell Jacobs
Hardaway: Jacqueline Wade
Jordan: Tiwauna Williams
Kendrick: Lola Farley
Northside: Carol Fasick
Shaw: Benjamine Hudson
Spencer: Kimbley Fisher
Specialized schools or programs
AIM: Gloria Askew
Rainey-McCullers: Kristan Macphail
St. Elmo: Kelly Jordan
Woodall: Wendye Melzar
The staff of each MCSD school nominated a teacher to compete for the award. The foundation’s selection committee will evaluate their applications and will choose semifinalists to interview and finalists to observe teaching before announcing the winner during the May 3 gala in the Columbus Convention & Trade Center.
MEEF’s 2018 Teacher of the Year selection committee members are Carl Brown (insurance agent, C. Brown & Associates), Sheryl Green (English teacher, Jordan Vocational High School, 2015 MCSD Teacher of the Year), Kerry Hand (retired CEO of Communicorp), Donna Kemp (retired MCSD principal), Stefan Lawrence (English teacher, Carver High School, 2016 MCSD Teacher of the Year), Bridget Markwood (education consultant), Marquette McKnight (CEO of Media, Marketing and More), Warren Steele (committee chairman and retired Aflac executive) and Jimmy Yancey (retired Synovus chairman).
During the ceremony Wednesday in Legacy Hall at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, McKnight said the packages of applications the selection committee receives from the nominees are so big, they need boxes to carry them. So the task is daunting, she said, but also inspiring.
A typical email or text message from a selection committee member gushes, “You would not believe the application I read last night, where this teacher does X, or this teacher does Y, or this teacher is doing a phenomenal job at this school,” McKnight said.
MEEF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering educational excellence by focusing on teachers who are innovative and exceptionally effective in their profession. In its 22-year history, the foundation has awarded more than $2.2 million to such educators through financial incentives in the Teacher of the Year program, the Harvard Fellows program, the MEEF Grant program and the MEEF Endowment Fund.
MCSD superintendent David Lewis thanked MEEF for the positive impact it makes.
“It is second to none in terms of recognizing teacher excellence and promoting the teaching profession in general,” he said.
Lewis told the nominees that the most outstanding award people can receive comes from their peers.
“You’ve all been selected to represent your school,” he said. “And more importantly, you represent our community and our school system. ... Thank you for what you do and for what you mean to our students, to our community and generally to our entire country. I think oftentimes we don’t thank our teachers our enough.”
IF YOU GO
What: Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation annual gala, where the Muscogee County School District 2018 Teacher of the Year nominees will be honored and the winner will be announced.
When: May 3; reception starts at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:45 p.m.
Where: Columbus Convention & Trade Center, 801 Front Ave.
Tickets: $45; on sale March 26 through April 13 at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts box office, 900 Broadway.
Info: Media, Marketing and More, 706-660-9702.