Published Friday, April 27, 2012
By REBECCA LEFTWICH
Tracie Gossett, a second grade teacher at Thomas Crossroads Elementary School, was named Coweta County Teacher of the Year for 2012 at a program honoring 31 outstanding teachers from the county’s elementary, middle and high schools.
A reception was held Wednesday evening for the outstanding teachers at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts. The Coweta County Board of Education annually presents the program with the Newnan Pilot Club.
“She is outstanding, no doubt,” said Dr. Fate Simmons, Thomas Crossroads principal. “If you asked for a perfect person, a perfect teacher, it would be Mrs. Gossett.”
Gossett, who has taught at Thomas Crossroads for seven years, earned her BS in Early Childhood Education at the University of West Georgia in 2000, but not before she spent three and a half years working toward a nursing degree.
“I have always known God placed the desire to teach within me,” Gossett wrote in her bio, adding, “I confidently began to pursue my teaching degree.”
Gossett is a member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the School Based Leadership Team. She has trained in Love and Logic and the Institute of Multi-Sensory Orton-Gillingham Phonics Program. She trained other teachers in that phonics program and is currently working, along with the rest of the second-grade team at TCES, to present the Cafe and Daily Five programs to other Coweta County schools. Gossett is not only a resource for other grade levels and schools, but she has served as Student Support Team chair and is in her second year as grade level chair at TCES.
“She has blossomed in her leadership skills and does an excellent job in interaction with the students and parents,” Simmons said. “She truly deserves to be Teacher of the Year. She is one of the kindest, most patient people you will find, and she has a strong religious background. We’ve never had a single complaint over the past seven years. If the kids love a teacher, the parents will love the teacher, and the kids truly love her.”
Simmons covered Gossett’s class while she was being interviewed by the Teacher of the Year panel, and he asked her students to write how they feel about their teacher.
Here are some of the students’ comments about Gossett:
“She makes learning fun and makes us work hard so we can meet our standards.”
“She makes everything a fun game or just fun by itself! She’s funny and sweet. She lets us cook every Friday.”
“Mrs. Gossett is the best teacher cause she helps us work things out. She also is smart, she knows almost everything there is to know in the school.”
“I think Mrs. Gossett is a great teacher because she’s fun, caring, and sweet. She does fun things. Mrs. Gossett is awesome!!!”
“I think Mrs. Gossett is a wonderful teacher because she makes us very happy; but the best of all, SHE LOVES US!”
As Teacher of the Year, Gossett said her message is that teachers can and do make a difference as the critical link in the educational chain. Education is a group effort among teachers, administrators and parents, she said, but it’s a teacher’s job to not only teach students basic knowledge, but also to provide them with life skills necessary to further their education. That includes problem solving, critical thinking, evaluating and analyzing skills.
The Teacher of the Year honor is a boost for TCES as well as a highly deserved recognition for Gossett, according to Simmons.
“I always have expressed how wonderful our teachers are, and for other people to come in and recognize that – words just can’t say enough,” said Simmons, who added it’s the first time a TCES teacher has earned the honor. “We have had an excellent year, and this just caps it off.”
(To view or puchase photos from this ceremony, please visit http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Events / Coweta for the photo gallery.)
Teachers of the Year are chosen by their peers each year from among certified classroom teachers in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Special education, physical education, art and music teachers and media specialists are eligible for the honor.
Gossett was one of three finalists for the honor, presented jointly by the Coweta County Board of Education and the Newnan Pilot Club at the Centre for the Performing and Visual Arts Wednesday. Larry Burns, a social studies teacher at Northgate High School, and Dr. Paige Galt, a Spanish teacher at Smokey Road Middle School, also were 2012 Teacher of the Year finalists.
Burns has taught at Northgate since 2008, shortly after he earned a BS at the University of West Georgia. He is a member of the National Council for Social Studies and Phi Alpha Theta, was named 2008 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Secondary Education by the UWG College of Education and was selected by the White House to participate in a Twitter forum after the 2012 State of the Union Address. Teaching is a second career for Burns, who worked in the airline industry before he “realized his life-long dream of becoming a teacher.”
“In our position as educators, we must remember that we are role models both in and out of the classroom,” Burns wrote in his application. “It is important that our students see that outside of the classroom our emphasis is not on self.”
Galt, who holds doctorate in education and educational specialist in curriculum from Nova Southeastern University as well as an MA in Education from Piedmont College and a BS in education from the University of Georgia, has taught at Smokey Road since 2006. A member of PAGE, the Foreign Language Association of America and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Galt also was founding sponsor of the Future Educators of America Club at Smokey Road and currently supervises five high school interns from the Teacher Pipeline Program.
“To inspire one child to pursue his or her dreams and reach for the unattainable would be the ultimate reward in my teaching career,” Galt wrote.