Friday, April 24, 2009

Dr. Carol Taylor of Rising Starr Middle School is Fayette County's Top Teacher for 2009

Dr. Carol Taylor (R) on stage with Mistress of Ceremonies Caroline Schmitt after being named the 2009 Fayette County Teacher of the year.

The long journey for the three finalists vying for Fayette County Teacher of the Year came to an end Thursday night at New Hope Baptist Church, North Campus, with the naming of the winner.

All eyes were fixed on Superintendent John DeCotis as he opened the sealed envelope and announced that Dr. Carol Taylor of Rising Starr Middle had been selected as the 2009 Fayette County Teacher of the Year.

The other two finalists were Pamela Kinzly of Whitewater High and Dr. Lisa Gonzalez of Robert J. Burch Elementary.

Taylor thanked a long list of teachers and administrators who she said helped pave the way for her success, including her high school English teacher.

“I have worked hard to model her level of exemplary teaching and learning to affect my students the way she affected my life. She instilled my own passion for learning and that passion is reflected in my teaching,” she says.

Taylor also thanked one of her undergraduate professors from Georgia State University, Dr. Karen Schultz, for influencing her career path in mathematics and made a loving tribute to her husband, children and in-laws for their support of her career.

“Thank you for always being there for me and understanding when I could not be with you because of my commitment to my career. I couldn’t have don this without you,” she told her family.

Besides teaching mathematics to her students, Taylor works hard to be a strong, positive role model, showing them that dreams can be achieved.

“I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, yet also a private pilot of a single engine aircraft, an advanced certified diver, windsurfer, marathon runner, student, Sunday school teacher, and piano and flute player. I approach my students with the attitude that if you can dream it, you can do it,” she said.

The finalists were selected from among 29 different teachers of the year at each school. An independent panel of judges, including last year’s TOTY, rated the application of each teacher to select the three finalists. The final judging stage consisted of a classroom observation followed by a one-on-one interview with the finalists. Judges individually rated each finalist. Their scores were combined to determine the winner.

As Fayette County's 2009 Teacher of the Year, Taylor will represent the county in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition next spring.

Fayette County's annual TOTY program honors the county’s 29 teachers of the year from each elementary, middle and high school. The program would not be possible without the generous contributions of local businesses and organizations.

TOTY winners from each school received plaques from the Coca Cola Company recognizing their achievement and a commemorative portrait courtesy of Life Touch Photography. Also, Dell Computer, Inc. donated computers to both the runners up and the TOTY. Additionally, the TOTY received a specifically designed ring from Balfour, a $1,000 check from Allan Vigil Ford of Fayetteville and roundtrip airfare for two from AirTran Airlines.

Other top sponsors included Chick-fil-A Dwarf House, Chick-fil-A Towne Center and Starr’s Mill, Coldwater Creek, Delta Community Credit Union, Fayette Animal Clinic, Southern Federal Credit Union, The Avenue Peachtree City, World Gym and numerous other local businesses and organizations.

The following school PTOs and PTSOs also supported this year’s event: Bennett’s Mill Middle, Braelinn Elementary, Robert J. Burch Elementary, Cleveland Elementary, Crabapple Lane Elementary, Fayette County High, Fayette Middle, Fayetteville Intermediate/Hood Avenue Primary, Flat Rock Middle, Huddleston Elementary, Inman Elementary, J.C. Booth Middle, Kedron Elementary, McIntosh High, Rising Starr Middle, Tyrone Elementary, Whitewater High and Whitewater Middle.

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