The highlight of Norman Hill’s year comes in August when he gets to make five special phone calls.
The Richmond County School System chief human resources officer informs five principals that a teacher at their school is a candidate for the district’s top honor: the teacher of the year award.
“It was a dead tie this year,” Hill said about the principal with the most enthusiastic reaction to his call. “Everybody was really, truly excited to be chosen; and you should be.”
School officials came together for a ceremony Friday to recognize five teachers chosen as finalists for the 2013 Teacher of the Year award. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in November, but officials said being selected a finalist is a testament to their talent.
The five finalists are Anna Edry, a fourth-grade teacher at Deer Chase Elementary; Stephanie Goldman, a second-grade teacher at Rollins Elementary; Onnie Poe, a nutrition and food science teacher at T.W. Josey High; Stephanie Ross, a physical education teacher at Glenn Hills Elementary; and Amy Williamson, a kindergarten teacher at Hephzibah Elementary.
The five principals gave testimony to the talent of their teachers and why each deserves the district’s top honor.
Deer Chase Principal Tijuana Wiggins said Edry could “teach a rock to read” and “teach a horse to dance.” Rollins Principal Cheri Ogden said she was blessed when she found Goldman at a job fair and two schools were fighting over which would get her in their classrooms.
Josey Principal Ronald Wiggins said Poe is diligent and caring and makes the best cookies in the world.
Now six judges will observe each of the candidates in the classroom and give a score based on a rubric.
The winner will be kept a secret until the banquet in November, said judge and retired human resources coordinator Jordel Rihl.
Superintendent Frank Roberson said no matter who is chosen, all are a gift to the students of Richmond County.
“In education, I don’t think there’s anyone more important than the teacher,” Roberson said. “I recognize how very insignificant I am when I watch teachers teaching children and I see children learning.”