As a kickoff to Teacher Appreciation Week that began Sunday, Gordon County Schools announced its Teacher of the Year finalists for the 天天乐棋牌-2021 school year this week.

Candidates were surprised with a parade visit from school and district leaders, as well as colleagues from their respective schools. Superintendent Kimberly Fraker also presented each candidate with a yard banner and a bouquet of flowers.

The first candidate visited was Kelly Macks, a first grade teacher at Tolbert Elementary School. Macks has been an educator since 2003 and started with the school district in 2016. She was also named Teacher of the Year for her three previous schools. She holds an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education, holds endorsements in ESOL, Reading, and gifted education, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in elementary reading and mathematics.

When asked about her decision to become a teacher, Macks responded, “I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I believe that it is my divine calling. My mother was a teacher in Gordon County for 37 years, and I can remember spending countless nights sitting on the floor, helping her prepare for her lessons and activities. When other children were at 天天乐棋牌 playing video games in the afternoon, I was in my mother’s classroom, helping her grade papers. My mother is a natural teacher and was my first mentor.”

Jackie Palazzolo was the next finalist to be surprised. The drive by parade consisted of district leaders and school administration, as well as the majority of the staff at Sonoraville High School, where Palazzolo has taught Spanish since 2012. Palazzolo holds a specialist degree in teacher leadership, a master’s degree in secondary education, and an undergraduate degree in arts and science. She has been named STAR Teacher and was District Teacher of the Year in her previous school system. She holds certifications in advanced placement Spanish language, international baccalaureate Spanish, and gifted education.

In addition to her teaching career, Palazzolo also serves on the Calhoun City Council and is a small business owner. One of her most influential inspirations for teaching came later in her educational journey, “My junior year in high school, my Spanish teacher, Mr. Powell asked me to stay after class and he asked me to write several things on the board. Well, soon after I was diagnosed with dyslexia. For years, I had struggled with confidence issues for not being in the blue bird reading group (high reading level) in elementary school and the answer came with a simple notice of a teacher that took interest in my inability to read and write appropriately. Soon after, I received the skills needed to overcome my reading and writing struggles and my life completely changed."

The last stop on the finalist tour was at the 天天乐棋牌 of Laura Wolfe, sixth grade science teacher at Ashworth Middle School. Wolfe joined the faculty at Ashworth in 2012, after being in education since 1999. She holds a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education, with concentrations in science and language arts. She also holds certifications in K-5 and 4-8 social sciences, as well as gifted education.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Wolfe is very involved in her church as a worship leader, small group facilitator, and youth volunteer. Wolfe always knew she wanted to be a teacher, “In middle school, I changed schools three times due to job changes, and this experience is what ultimately formed my appreciation and love for middle grades educators. I was a happy young lady who found herself in new environments, and oftentimes, it was my teachers who chose to engage with me first. In turn, they connected me with the peer relationships I desperately needed as a young person. It was in 8th grade at McCleskey Middle School that my love for learning became obvious, and I became fully 'bought in' to the educational process and began picturing myself as a classroom Science educator. … Upon entering college, I immediately declared my major as Middle Grades Education and started the process of aligning my understanding and knowledge of education with the foundational love and enthusiasm I felt.”

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