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Hardigree named TCSS teacher of the year

Del’avant filled with cheers on Wednesday when LaGrange High School teacher Randy Hardigree was named the teacher of the year.

Hardigree teaches biology, anatomy and life sciences, and he said that one of the most fulfilling parts of his job is knowing that he makes a difference in the lives of his students.

“We know that we never go home wondering if we made a difference in the jobs that we do,” Hardigree said. “I’ve been in this system my whole career, and I’ve worked with outstanding people from the beginning until now. People with tremendous hearts. People with the heart of a teacher, and I think that is profound. It says a lot for this community. It says a lot for this system that there are so many outstanding people in the system who do this job, and we have made a difference in these kids.”

Hardigree was one of three finalists for the award, along with Nancy Brown of Rosemont Elementary and Theresa Henke of Long Cane Middle School. Twenty-five nominees from the TCSS were recognized at the reception, and school system representatives thanked them for their dedication.

“You have to have a teacher with the mindset and the skillset to take those resources and to have a heart for each and every student,” Assistant Superintendent Karen Cagle said. “As I look across this room today, we have a packed house because we have some superstars in our school system. Please know that Dr. [Cole] Pugh and our cabinet and our board, we appreciate more than we could ever say, more than we could ever pay. Just know that what you do every day matters.”

The school system teacher of the year often receives additional training and opportunities, like the previous year’s winner, who attended a training session at Harvard and spoke at a TED talk.

“You matter. As educators, we serve in many roles — parents, cheerleaders, councilors, teachers, anything,” said Kayla Yeargin, the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.

“Students need attention from us as much as we need their attention doing their lessons. Every student needs to know that they matter. Whether it is a simple greeting, noticing a new haircut or congratulating them on something that happened outside of school, it can make a huge difference. Educators have the ability to change lives, and because of that each one of us matters.”