CCSD Teacher of the Year Dana Towsend of Mill Creek MS gets a hug from her dad, James Tanner, as the announcement is made she's the overall winner.
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The Cherokee County School District honored extraordinary educators with a dinner, tributes and gifts at the 2018 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration on Thursday night... with a new twist: the surprise announcement of the CCSD Teacher of the Year at the event.
With the creation this year of a new Finalist level of recognition, also came the decision to make the announcement of the overall winner a surprise at the dinner, and Mill Creek Middle School PE and health teacher Dana Townsend received the exciting news at the end of the program!
“Dana is an inspiring teacher and coach,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said of Ms. Townsend, who as CCSD’s Teacher of the Year now will represent the School District in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition. “What’s even more impressive, to me, is the care she shows for each student. This care is so great that, this school year, she developed a program to ensure every child at Mill Creek has a mentor. We’re so proud of you, Dana.”
A 22-year educator, Ms. Townsend uses her experience teaching reading, writing, science and social studies to expand upon traditional PE and health class coursework and collaborate with colleagues. Among her many other roles at the school, Ms. Townsend this school year began a mentor program to ensure students feel supported and have a caring adult to turn to in times of need.
“Every student deserves a community that supports their physical, mental and emotional health,” said Ms. Townsend, who has earned specialist and master’s degrees from Brenau University. “To be a teacher is to have the daily opportunity to change lives. It’s really a blessing to be able to do this every day.”
Principal Matthew May said Ms. Townsend’s dedication and enthusiasm puts her in a class of her own.
“Ms. Townsend is adored by her students, respected by her peers, and appreciated by her administration,” he said. “She is a positive example for students and teachers. She is an outstanding teacher and a deserving candidate for Teacher of the Year.”
The Legacy Makers event, held at the Cherokee County Conference Center, and the long list of gifts presented to the honorees all were made possible thanks to the generosity of sponsor donations including Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram of Canton.
Dr. Hightower and the School Board recognized Ms. Townsend and the three other Finalists and all school-level Teacher of the Year winners during the event, which also was attended by the guest of their choice and their Principals. The Finalists and CCSD Teacher of the Year are selected by a panel of community leaders who evaluate applications from each school’s Teacher of the Year; school winners are selected by their peers.
“Renowned educator Robert Marzano said: ‘The teacher is the single most important factor in improving student outcomes.’ I agree, which is why this evening is so special to me and our School Board, as we celebrate our most extraordinary teachers,” Dr. Hightower said.
The three other Finalists, who received additional gifts and recognition at the event, are: Tabatha Box, math teacher at Etowah High School; Jama McCartney, art teacher at Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy; and Karen Reynolds, first-grade teacher at Little River Elementary School.
All school Teacher of the Year winners each received a $175 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; a $100 restaurant gift certificate from Shottenkirk; a portrait by Lifetouch National Schools Studio; an engraved plaque; and a tote bag filled with supplies and gifts.
The finalists, in addition to these gifts, also each received: a $500 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors; a $250 Best Buy gift card from Imaan International; $100 gift card and $50 gift basket from Kroger; a $50 Visa gift card from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators; and a $25 Panera Bread gift card donated by zSpace. The finalists also each were provided with a table at the dinner, so they could bring additional family members or other guests.
Ms. Townsend, in addition to these gifts, also received:
• A one-year lease of the vehicle of her choice from Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton;
• A $1,000 Visa gift card purchased with donations from sponsors;
• A laptop from Southern Computer Warehouse;
• A $250 Best Buy gift card from Imaan International;
• A $200 gift card and a gift basket from Kroger;
• A $100 Amazon gift card from Follett;
• A Compact Laser printer and $50 Visa gift card from the Professional Association of Georgia Educators;
• A Google Home Hub and Home Mini smart speaker, both with Google Assistant, from CommScope; and,
• A $25 Panera Bread gift card from zSpace.
Sponsors who made all of the gifts possible are:
• Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton;
• Gold sponsors: Emtec, Guaranteed Gutters, Hewlett Packard, Kroger, Lifetouch National Schools Studios, Poole’s Insulation and Southern Computer Warehouse;
• Silver sponsors: Cherokee Education Association, Clifford Chester Concrete, Kajeet, NearPod, Path & Post Real Estate, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, zSpace; and,
• Bronze sponsors: AngelTrax, Chick-fil-A of Canton, Cobb EMC, Commscope, Follett, NOVA Engineering & Environmental, and Roly Poly of Woodstock.
“Without the support of these sponsors, we would not be able to show our outstanding educators how much our community appreciates their service,” Dr. Hightower said. “We’re so grateful to our sponsors for helping make this event extra special for our Teachers of the Year.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower tells the audience about CCSD Teacher of the Year Dana Townsend of Mill Creek MS after announcing her win of the overall honor.
CCSD Teacher of the Year Dana Towsend of Mill Creek MS is surprised with the announcement she won the overall honor.
CCSD Teacher of the Year Dana Townsend of Mill Creek MS speaks to the audience at the Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration.