2019 TOTY

Outstanding School System Teachers Recognized
Posted on 08/09/2019

Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. Teachers make positive and lasting differences in students, yet all too often, they never know the impact they are making. Through the annual Teacher of the Year program, the Douglas County School System recognizes and honors outstanding teachers who are making a difference.

At the end of last school year, each school named a Teacher of the Year who was chosen by peers. During the summer, judges reviewed applications from teachers who wrote with heart and conviction about their professional calling. When referring to the applications, “inspirational” is the word judges used most often. Based on these applications, six teachers have been chosen as semifinalists. Judges will soon observe the semifinalists teaching their students and then interview them one-on-one before naming the District Teacher of the Year on October 3. The district Teacher of the Year will move on to state level competition.

Congratulations to all of our Teachers of the Year!

Elementary School Semifinalists

Joel Boyce, Beulah Elementary School

Joel BoyceJoel Boyce began his teaching career 19 years ago in Houston, TX as a Teach for America recruit. At Turner Middle School and Beulah Elementary School, he has been the lead organizer of the Black History program. He has been a member of the School Leadership Team and a Teach for America Program Faculty Adviser. The words of one his students represent the impact he tries to make each year with every student: “You help people believe in themselves and accomplish their dreams. Something that I like about you is that you go hard on your students to make them go above and beyond.”   Boyce encourages students to take ownership over their education and strive for excellence in everything they do. 

Robin Williams, Chapel Hill Elementary School

Throughout her 21 years in education, RobinRobin Williams Photo Williams has been team leader, science representative, school council member, teacher mentor, publication committee leader, and co-teacher for special education. During summer break, she has co-taught science camps at University of West Georgia. Williams is always searching for ways to improve enthusiasm and engagement in her students so that learning is exciting and fun. Her teaching goal is to give students a firm foundation of academics while fostering a kind and loving spirit. Everyone has a calling in life and hers is teaching! Williams is particularly honored to be chosen as a Teacher of the Year within the school system she attended as a student!

Middle School Semifinalists

Lydia Palmer, Fairplay Middle School

Lydia Palmer PhotoLydia Palmer grew up in the Douglas County School System. She student-taught at Fairplay Middle School (FMS), and after graduating from the University of West Georgia, was hired there where she found both a home and family. At FMS, she works as a mentor to encourage growth in students and teachers. She serves on the School Leadership Team as the Sixth Grade Chair and as the sponsor of the school store. Family is everything to Palmer. She feels blessed to have a five-year old son she once thought not possible. Being a parent has reinforced her belief that successful schools are like families. They have disappointments and challenges, but they support each other nonetheless. They succeed because they work and adapt together.

Tamara Allen, Yeager Middle School

Tamara Allen has been a middle school chorusTamara Allen Photo and music teacher for 10 years, with eight of those years at Yeager Middle School (YMS). When she arrived at YMS, there was no chorus class. During her tenure at the school, she has helped to grow the program to include about 20% of the student population. For seven years she has taken students to LGPE (Large Group Performance Evaluation) where she has seen her students' ratings grow from Good to Excellent, and now recently Superior. Allen believes that the best way to reach students is to find out how to make connections with them, set clear boundaries, and show them as often as possible that they are loved and valued. She strives to reach as many students daily as she can and wants students to feel that they have a place to belong in school whether that is in or outside of her classroom. 

High School Semifinalists

Erica Berry, College & Career Institute

Erica Berry PhotoErica Berry has been an English teacher for 17 years, the last 13 of which have been dedicated to high school students in Douglas County. She currently teaches English at the College & Career Institute (CCI). During her career, she has taught all grade levels of high school English Language Arts, including AP Language and Read 180. Berry has served as a teacher mentor, School Leadership Committee member, team leader, club sponsor, after school remediation teacher, cheer coach, and basketball scorekeeper. She currently serves the CCI as the yearbook adviser and is involved in many of the school’s fundraising and charity drives.

Meg Hart, Douglas County High School

The current school year is Meg Hart’s 21st yearMeg Hart Photo teaching in the Douglas County School System, and her 13th year teaching at her alma mater, Douglas County High School. She has taught American, ninth grade, and British Literature. Her favorite extra-curricular endeavor is serving as the yearbook adviser, where she is often found behind the camera at various school events and posting frequently to the school’s Facebook page, web page, and athletic page. Each year Hart enjoys helping her pre-International Baccalaureate (IB) ninth graders transition from middle school to the rigorous demands of the IB program, and she pushes her students to recognize their full potential. She encourages her students to take not only pride in their Douglas County community, but also to recognize that they are part of a larger, global community.

 All Teachers of the Year

​Teachers of the Year from each school

Photo ID:

First two rows combined:
Erica Berry, CCI; Holly Morton, CHHS; Brandon Washington, BUES; Taylor Durant, MCES; Shanta Williams, NMES; Dr. Demetria Barnum, Success Center; Robin Williams, CHES; Rochelle Davis, SWES; Terezie Rice, SDES; Susan Harville, LSES;  Angela Dunigan, BSES; Brooke Wasno, ESES; Macharla Dayal, ASES; Natalie Avery, WES; Felecia Mays, AWES; Natalie Murray, MLES; and Christy McCoy, NDES.

Third row:
Casey Plyler, MAMS; Meg Hart, DCHS; Lydia Palmer, FMS; Cindy Kimberley, MAES, Janine Dean, BAES; Joshua Arline, CHMS; and Tamara Allen, YMS.

Top rows combined:
ONeal Yates, AHS; Trey Giddens, NMHS; Dr. Priscilla Marshall, TMS; Mikki Lucas, CLMS; Joel Boyce, BEES; Monet Wagstaff-Burns, SMS; Christa Hulburt, FSES; Dr. Juanita Atkins, FSMS; Josette Reyes-Sapogov, DSES; Katie Pelletier, HSES; and Paul Robinson, LSHS

Not pictured: Felecia Thomas, MAMS


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