Stephens Co. Recognizes Teachers of the Year

The Stephens County School System recognizes its teachers of the year.

The school system held its annual “Teacher of the Year” luncheon at the Gate Cottage on the campus of Toccoa Falls College on Monday.

The banquet gives the school system a chance to honor each of the six school-level Teachers of the Year in Stephens County, as well as the system-wide Teacher of the Year.

Stephens County School Superintendent Sherrie Whiten said this is always an exciting day for the school system.

“When you starting reading the applications (of the Teachers of the Year) where they talked about why they are teachers, there is such a strong theme that emerges,” said Whiten. “They do anything they can to make sure their students are successful and they all talked about creating a home away from home in their classrooms so it is a wonderful place for students to be.”

This year’s six school-level Teachers of the Year are Christa Hotalen from Big A Elementary School, Beth Lord from Eastanollee Elementary School, Lenea Martel from Liberty Elementary School, Laura Whitworth from Toccoa Elementary School, Terry Stepp from Stephens County Middle School, and Kevin Boyce from Stephens County High School.

Boyce, a graphic arts teacher at Stephens County High School, is this year’s system-wide Teacher of the Year.

He said he is honored to be recognized from an outstanding group of educators.

Boyce also said that he truly enjoys his work as a teacher.

“I do not look at my job as a job,” said Boyce. “I look forward to coming to work every day and the youth help to keep me young. They teach me all the time. I try to share anything I can with them. I truly am fortunate.”

Those in attendance Monday also heard from this year’s Georgia Teacher of the Year, Lauren Eckman. She is an English Language Arts teacher at the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon, Georgia.

She said she wants to pass along a simple message about education.

“We need to get out there and share the story of education, the true story, the wonderful things that are going on in our classrooms, the great achievements of our teachers and more importantly, our wonderful students,” said Eckman.

Eckman also said she teaches because she believes in children and the ability to reach every child.

Also speaking Monday was Debra Masten, this past year’s Stephens County School System Teacher of the Year.