Actress is rewarded for quality teaching

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Someone from one of the top schools in the country took home the county's top teaching honors Monday night for the second consecutive year.

Heather Davidson, a drama teacher at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, was named the 2008 Richmond County Teacher of the Year during a banquet at the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites. Last year, her colleague Aletha Snowberger received the honor.

She was so impressed hearing the biographies of the other finalists that she nearly forgot that she was a finalist herself, Mrs. Davidson recalled afterward, but then her name was announced as the overall Teacher of the Year.

"I felt like I was being awakened from a really nice dream," she said.

Mrs. Davidson is in her 12th year of teaching. She began her professional career as an actress in New York and continues to act locally, most recently appearing in the Augusta Opera's production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as the beggar woman.

Her acting even won her an Auggie for best actress for her portrayal of Maria in The Sound of Music with the Augusta Players.

But it's her teaching that she enjoys the most.

"That's where my heart really is," Mrs. Davidson said. "That is what I do more around the clock."

Teaching is one of the few professions where you get in return more than you give, she said.

"You get to see kids come out of their shells and become people you never thought they would be," Mrs. Davidson said.

When asked what makes her teaching stand out from that of others, she modestly replied that nothing does.

"I'm so completely honored and privileged to accept this award," Mrs. Davidson told the roomful of the school system's top teachers.

As Teacher of the Year, she received several gifts that were donated, including a laptop computer, a printer and a $1,600 diamond necklace.

The other finalists for Teacher of the Year were Patricia Davis, a kindergarten teacher at Sue Reynolds Elementary School; Bobbie Lawhead, an English teacher at Westside High School; Suzanne Swann, a fourth-grade teacher at Wheeless Road Elementary School; and Andrea Williams-Baugh, a math teacher at Tubman Middle School.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or


POSITION: Drama teacher, John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School

EXPERIENCE: 12 years

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in fine arts from Syracuse University

FAMILY: Husband, Dr. Bernard Davidson

RECOGNITION: 2008 Richmond County Teacher of the Year

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younameit 11/04/08 - 05:38 am
Awesome teacher. Just

Awesome teacher. Just another jewel in the crown of this potentially amazing community. Soon we will all realize that we have the same potential to help build community as these very talented teachers, and then great things will happen for us all. I suggest that we ask Mrs. Davidson to speak of her philosophy of teaching and that we all stay silent and listen - not for a few minutes, but for a few months. Then let's implement her ideas. And when are we going to "spread the wealth" of the magnet school concept beyond three schools. How many children will pass through our system without that opportunity before we wake up?

Debster 11/04/08 - 08:24 am
Isn't it amazing how, despite

Isn't it amazing how, despite having such great teachers in other schools in the county, that Davidson teachers almost always take the top prize? My congratulations to ALL of these teachers for their care, concern and compassion for teaching our students the skills they will need to make it in life.

FallingLeaves 11/04/08 - 12:11 pm
Congratulations Mrs.

Congratulations Mrs. Davidson! We love you and all our teachers!

news2use 11/04/08 - 02:01 pm
to those who may not

to those who may not know....the teacher of the year is judged by a nonpartisan panel of 6 judges that are not involved in the Richmond County School system but have been involved in education. This panel observes all of the finalists and ranks them based on a rubric. The winner is determined by these judges scores. All of the teachers in Richmond County deserve recognition and honor. Mrs Davidson, like so many others, goes above and beyond the call of duty and treats each student as if they were her own. Yes other schools have extremely amazing teachers, there is no argument with that statement. However, of the five finalists selected for this years honor, the judges felt as if her instruction was the most exemplary. Congrats to all of the teacher of the year finalists and to every school's teacher of the year.

jajo1012 11/04/08 - 03:06 pm

CONGRATULATIONS to Mrs. Davidson... and to "0517632", there is absolutely no reason to be bitter towards Davidson Fine Arts Shool. Seriously.

ispeakadatruth 11/04/08 - 03:41 pm


luckie 11/04/08 - 08:34 pm
I hope she becomes state

I hope she becomes state teacher of the year. Congratulations.

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