Our school district recently had the opportunity to celebrate a few of the professionals who made the last year possible by going above and beyond and raising the standards for educators everywhere. In a year of constant change, it took an exceptional lineup of teachers and support staff to keep our schools open and serving students to the best of our abilities.
The "Dalton Difference" is embodied by our teachers who are focused on creating positive learning environments that support students who are actively engaged in learning. Each year, a school selects a top teacher to honor as the school-level Teacher of the Year. All of these outstanding teachers compete for the honor to represent the district as the Dalton Teacher of the Year. I’m always impressed with the quality of our nominees, and this year was no exception.
The 2021 school level Teachers of the Year are Meghan Glaze, Blue Ridge School; Daniel McArthur, Brookwood School; Lauren Aldrich, City Park School; Suzanne Arnold, Park Creek School; Joycelyn Richards, Roan School; Christen Bryant, Westwood School; Jennifer Sumner, Dalton Middle School; Matt Cheaves, Dalton High School; and Dolores Carrillo, Morris Innovative High School. Each of these honorees received a monetary award.
Our district winner is Jennifer Sumner from Dalton Middle School. She is applauded for being a leader among her peers and for how well she serves in her role as the lead Exceptional Student Services teacher. As the Dalton Teacher of the Year, Sumner received a one-year lease to a 2021 Ford, compliments of Ford of Dalton, in addition to the monetary award.
Schools employ more than just teachers to provide a quality education for students. Classified employees make up 30% of our staff and include all the support services, such as paraprofessionals in the classroom, office clerical employees, school nutrition, maintenance and operations, technology and school nurses. These employees play a vital role in providing a well-rounded educational experience for students.
This year’s school honorees for Classified Staff Members of the Year are Yessica Hernandez, Blue Ridge School; Brittney Vineyard, Brookwood School; Yesenia Castaneda, City Park School; Marla Tucker, Park Creek School; Candace Humphreys, Roan School; Mike Moore, Westwood School; Krista Wingfield, Dalton Middle School; Bliss Jones, Dalton High School; and Traci Hopkins, Morris Innovative High School. Each of these honorees also received a monetary award.
This year, the Dalton Classified Employee of the Year is Bliss Jones. She is being recognized for her diligence in promoting the health and safety of our students and staff as the district COVID coordinator. She was responsible for coordinating all the contact tracing and data reporting for students and staff.
I would like to thank two of our fantastic business partners, Dalton Utilities and Shaw Industries, for providing the monetary awards to all honorees. We appreciate their support to always support education in our district and community.
All of these educators have demonstrated a selfless commitment to their students, a passion for education and a commitment to do what it takes to serve students, even in a pandemic. I want to thank all these outstanding employees who continue to champion the dreams and aspirations of our students. I hope you will join me in recognizing them for excelling in their roles and for their dedication to living out the "Dalton Difference."
Tim Scott is superintendent of Dalton Public Schools.