Educators recognized by Chamber
LaGRANGE — Education was in the spotlight during last week’s LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce Early Bird Breakfast at Del’avant.
Before an audience of more than 200, teachers of the year from local schools were honored and Dr. Kathy Carlisle, CEO of THINC College and Career Academy provided an update on the charter school’s first academic year that recently ended.
The Chamber annually recognizes the outstanding educators from public and private schools in Troup County.
Darlene Shaw, upper school honoree from Lafayette Christian School, has a long affiliation with Christian education and church ministry in LaGrange. She has been the drama/chorus teacher at Lafayette Christian School since 2012. Her students were region champions in chorus competition and state runner up in chorus competition.
Dawn Redmond, who has 20 years’ teaching experience, was recognized for her work as a first grade teacher in the lower school. She has been at Lafayette Christian School for two years.
Jill Gay, a second grade teacher at Hollis Hand Elementary, is the systemwide honoree for the Troup County School System. Gay holds a masters of arts in early childhood education and has been an educator for 23 years. Ten of those years have been with Hollis Hand Elementary in Troup County.
With a degree and background in chemical engineering, Jennifer Smith made the move to a LaGrange Academy math classroom 10 years ago. She teaches several upper school honors and AP math courses as well as engineering, has been named STAR teacher and this year is the teacher of the year at LaGrange Academy.
Hillside Montessori selected Kandice Cook-Keith as this year’s teacher of the year. She has been with the school since its inception. She was home schooled as a child and quickly learned the value of self-motivation, which she has instilled in her students.
This year the accolades extended to the collegiate level as Angela Brown, an Early Childhood Care and Education instructor at West Georgia Technical College, received the 2016 Rick Perkins Award for Technical Instruction awarded annually to the state’s top technical education instructor.
Brown shared her story, highlighting her upbringing and the inspiration she received from her family. She has 20 years of experience within the field of education and believes that teaching is what she was created to do.
“Teaching is not a job,” Brown said. “It’s a way of fulfilling my purpose in life.”
As the Perkins award winner, she will represent West Georgia Technical College and the Technical College System of Georgia for the next year.
Sara Ann Bryant, a 2016 LaGrange High School graduate, shared her perspective on what THINC has to offer. As a student in the health care pathway, Sara Ann experienced practical instruction that prepared her for her future studies as she pursues her chosen career as a nurse practitioner.
Reviewing the first year of operation at THINC College and Career Academy, CEO Kathy Carlisle focused on results for the 491 students enrolled during the 2015-16 school year. THINC students excelled in three measures of success with a graduation rate of 99 percent, attendance rate of 98 percent and discipline referrals of only 8 percent.
Each of the results exceed the systemwide averages and are an indicator of how well students have accepted the different culture that exists at THINC.
Carlisle also expressed the gratitude of the THINC board of directors and staff for the strong community involvement and exceptional partnerships with area employers, many of whom provided job opportunities through the work-based learning program.
In the 2016-17 school year, enrollment is projected to total 650 to 700 students. When school begins, a new science lab will provide students with state-of-the-art tools to enhance the learning experience.
The next Early Bird Breakfast is scheduled for Aug. 9 and will include U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland. For more information call 706-884-8671 or visit www.lagrangechamber.com.