Teacher of the Year nominees announced

The 56 nominees to be the Muscogee County School District 2016 Teacher of the Year were announced Thursday in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

Kinetic Credit Union president and CEO Janet Davis, chairwoman of the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation, which conducts the district’s Teacher of the Year program, said in a news release, “The dedication and commitment of these outstanding teachers is the very foundation of our educational system. These teachers have made a significant impact in student learning and achievement, and we are honored to recognize them as Teacher of the Year honorees.”

Each of the district’s schools nominated a teacher to contend for the award. MEEF’s selection committee will read the applications, interview 10 semifinalists and watch three finalists teach in their classroom before announcing the winner during the foundation’s May 5 gala.

Speaking in the RiverCenter’s Legacy Hall, MCSD superintendent David Lewis told the nominees, “We tend to think about teaching as being a profession of building legacy, and that’s certainly important, and we tend to think about that in terms of student-teacher relationships, but it also is with respect to colleagues as well, that collegial professional development and so on.

“And that is exactly what makes this award so unique and special, that you are going to be able to go out and be ambassadors for your school and for our school district. I thank you in advance for that.”

MEEF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering educational excellence by helping and honoring innovative and effective teachers. In its 20-year history, the foundation has awarded educators more than $2 million through the Teacher of the Year and other programs or grants. Lewis praised MEEF for making such a positive impact.

“This organization is unique from other foundations throughout the country in that it not only recognizes teaching excellence, but it supports it, in terms of professional development opportunities through programs such as the Harvard Fellows program,” he said.

Lewis said he regularly meets with some of those fellows “to help enhance and promote more of the significant things they learned when they were at Harvard.”

The superintendent concluded his message to the nominees with this: “I just want to say how much I appreciate the work that you do each and every day. It’s hard work. It’s mission work. It’s critically important work to ensure that our community and our students grow together and enhance the opportunities available in our community as we go forward.”

Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow him on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.


What: Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation gala, where the Muscogee County School District 2016 Teacher of the Year will be announced

When: May 5; reception starts at 6 p.m.; dinner and program start at 7 p.m.

Where: Columbus Convention & Trade Center, 801 Front Ave.

Tickets: $35, on sale April 11-22 at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts box office, 900 Broadway

Info: Media, Marketing & More, 706-660-9702


Elementary schools

Allen: Shayna Greene

Blanchard: Andrea Toole

Brewer: Ann Wiley

Britt David: Afton Pownall

Clubview: Lee Cooper

Davis: Christie Griffin

Dawson: Dione David

Dimon: Valerie Pitts

Dorothy Height: Joy Walton

Double Churches: Eric Crouch

Downtown: Kathryn Wagers

Eagle Ridge: Angie Strother

Forrest Road: Diane Ventimiglia

Fox: Carmen Estes

Gentian: Bonnie Love

Georgetown: Mark Sanders

Hannan: Benjamin Hale

Johnson: Julie Johnson

Key: Jamie Spanner

Lonnie Jackson: Dawn Williams

Martin Luther King Jr.: Sonjia Roberts

Mathews: Sheri Isasi

Midland: Linda Sawyer

North Columbus: Gary Deloach

Reese Road: Lesley Jakovcic

Rigdon Road: Vickie Bailey

River Road: Emma Neumeister

South Columbus: Donessa Moore

St. Marys Road: Stephanie Brockman

Waddell: Susan Oyster

Wesley Heights: Audrey Ferguson-Edwards

Wynnton: Natalie Chandler

Middle schools

Aaron Cohn: Kacy Ingram

Arnold: Melissa Niemi

Baker: Pearlie Jenkins

Blackmon Road: Dorothy Johnson

Double Churches: Kathleen Bolar

East Columbus: Laura Toepfer

Eddy: Delincia Hart

Fort: Otis Lofton

Midland: Amy Mobley

Richards: Andrea Bingham

Rothschild: Brenda Curtis

Veterans: Carolyn Pharris

High schools

Carver: Stefan Lawrence

Columbus: Lisa Mills

Early College: Susan Hernandez

Hardaway: Angelia Davis

Jordan: Tony McCraine

Kendrick: Akear Mewborn

Northside: John Cobis

Shaw: Deyka Smith

Spencer: Robyn Watson


Edgewood: Patricia Horner

St. Elmo: Leigh Sadler

Woodall: Beth Badger