Finalists named for Coweta teacher of the year
by Celia Shortt
(Editor’s note: For the final batch of profiles of the 2014 Teacher of the Year finalists, see Sunday’s Focus on Education section on page 1C.)
Coweta County has named its three finalists for the Coweta Teacher of the Year, and for the first time, the finalists include a mother and her daughter.
Wendy Arnold teaches special education at Winston Dowdell Academy, and her daughter, Amanda Connell, teaches economics at Northgate High School. Both have been named as teacher of the year for their respective schools and as two of the three finalists for Coweta’s Teacher of the Year.
The other finalist is Ami Patel, who teaches fifth grade at Ruth Hill Elementary School.
All Coweta’s 2014 Teachers of the Year will be recognized at a program on Thursday at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Lower Fayetteville Road. It begins at 7:30 p.m. and is presented each year by the Coweta County Board of Education and the Newnan Pilot Club.
Each school’s Teacher of the Year is chosen by fellow teachers from among certified pre-K through 12th grade classroom teachers, and includes special education, physical education, art, music, and media specialists. They are selected based on the quality of their teaching, their professional development, teaching philosophies and methods, community involvement, contributions to education, and their ability to inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
The Coweta Teacher of the Year will also serve as Coweta’s nominee for the state’s teacher of the year. Dr. Lyn Schenbeck, of the Central Educational Center, is the 2013 Coweta TOTY, and is currently one of the 10 finalists for this year’s Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Coweta County is Georgia’s only school system with three county nominees who have been named Georgia Teacher of the Year - Lorraine Johnson, Nancy Royal, and Jamie Lipscomb. Since 1986, Coweta County has also had 14 semi-finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
The other 2014 Teachers of the Year from each school are:
From elementary schools: Lauren Scheu, 3rd Grade (Arbor Springs); Carrie Dumm, 5th Grade (Arnco-Sargent); Rebecca Lewis, 2nd Grade (Atkinson); Ashley Wilkes, 5th Grade (Brooks); Pam Barfield, 4th Grade (Canongate); Jenny Walker, Kindergarten (Eastside); Shelene Long, 4th Grade (Elm Street); Ellen Thomas, 4th Grade (Glanton); Heather Reaves, 5th Grade (Jefferson Parkway); Pam Smith, EIP Teacher (Moreland); Joyce McCain, Kindergarten (Newnan Crossing); Beth Willems, 3rd Grade (Northside); Dwight McDaniel, 5th Grade (Poplar Road); JoAnne Underwood, Kindergarten (Thomas Crossroads); Sarah Leach, 1st Grade (Welch); Samiha Alexander, 5th Grade (Western); Kim Taylor, 2nd Grade (White Oak); Susan Kennedy, Special Education Teacher (Willis Road).
From middle schools: Rebecca Ryals, 6th Grade Social Studies (Arnall); Craig Owens, 6th-8th Grade (East Coweta); Amy Addison, 8th Grade Language Arts and Literature (Evans); Misty Wilson, 7th Grade Literature and Language Arts (Lee); Michelle Clarke, 8th Grade Math (Madras); Matt Nash, 7th Grade Special Education (Smokey Road); Jennifer Bailey, 6th -8th Grade Math (Maggie Brown).
From high schools: Jim Cromwell, Economics (the Central Educational Center); Chris Sewell, AP Biology (East Coweta); Jo Ellen Gordon, Math Teacher (Newnan).