Applauding Our Teacher of the Year Winners & Finalists – Maximus deberi puer reverential!

Maximus deberi puer reverential. Translation: The greatest reverence is due a child.

In this case, because of their dedication, the greatest reverence is due our teachers.

Every week I have the pleasure of visiting classrooms and watching teachers dive deeply into history lessons, conduct science experiments, simplify complex mathematical concepts and immerse students in foreign languages. Then I meet them again afterschool as they supervise band rehearsals, theater productions and coach athletic practices. What they do is truly ‘heart’ work, as much as it is hard work and year after year, they return to our classrooms and pour into our students with compassion and energy.

This month I had the pleasure of surprising our best of the best, our elementary, middle and high school teachers of the year, during special announcements at three schools. Join me as I applaud our winners!

The 2015-2016 Districtwide Teacher of the Year finalists are:     

APS Elementary School Teacher of the Year – Dennis Toliver

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Grove Park Intermediate Principal Patrick Muhammad, me, APS Elementary School Teacher Year of the Year Dennis Toliver and finalist for APS Districtwide Teacher of the Year; his students and Grove Park Intermediate Assistant Principal Rasheema Caldwell.

Dennis Toliver, grade 3 teacher at Grove Park Intermediate Elementary School, has taught for nine years and is in his fourth year at APS. He was so shocked when we entered his classroom and I was equally shocked at his phenomenal voice as he led his students in the song “The World’s Greatest.” Mr. Toliver believes in the potential of his students and tells them everyday that they too can be the world’s greatest in whatever they choose to do in life.

APS Middle School Teacher of the Year – Travis Brown

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Me with Mr. Brown’s students, Sylvan Hills Middle School Principal Artesza Portee and Middle School Teacher of the Year Travis Brown and finalist for APS Districtwide Teacher of the Year. Thumbs up!

Travis Brown, grade 6 social studies teacher at Sylvan Hills Middle School is celebrating 20 years in the classroom. He showed us his super power when his students shared their fun classroom jingles  that are used to teach complex topics in history and geography. Brown’s fourth grade teacher influenced him to become a teacher; she believed in him and went the extra mile to support his learning and ultimately helped him to believe in himself.

APS High School Teacher of the Year – Scott Allen

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Cool kids, a cool statue and me, along with Mr. Scott Allen High School Teacher of the Year and finalist for APS Districtwide Teacher of the Year and Henry W. Grady High School Principal Timothy Guiney.

Scott Allen, an AP Latin teacher for grades 9-12 at Henry W. Grady High School, is in his sixth year teaching at APS. Both of his parents were public school teachers, and so is his brother. He is such a dedicated teacher who says that he is awed by his students’ creativity and original thought. Mr. Allen embodies my favorite Latin philosophy, “Maximus deberi puer reverential.”

On October 29 the APS Districtwide Teacher of the Year will be announced during the APS Employee Recognition Celebration at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center. I’ll be Tweeting from the big event so follow me on Twitter at @atlsuper!

Click here for a video featuring surprise moments at the schools.

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