Our teachers are amazing, which is why we share the story of a school’s Teacher of the Year every week ... please help us celebrate 2021 Creekland Middle School Teacher of the Year Liesl New!
Creekland Middle School Teacher of the Year Liesl New makes history relevant for her eighth-grade students by connecting them to it.
As part of one such lesson, students read aloud the play based on Anne Frank’s diary and then step into a taped off area the size of a box car. Standing inside this small area together, they’re asked to imagine how Anne and other Holocaust victims felt as they travelled to concentration camps. The students follow this experience by researching someone who saved at least one life from the Holocaust and creating a written and digital project to share with the class.
“They are deeply engaged in this unit overall,” the 17-year teacher said. “They will not soon forget the stories of courage, survival and optimism amidst despair. My hope is that these students will not become bystanders, but will feel empowered by the knowledge that they may embrace individual differences and not hesitate to help others whenever possible.”
A former student, who now is in high school, said Ms. New’s classes not only made history more important to her, they also made her love school again. Her favorite experience was a “Shark Tank”-style project through which students create their own business. It’s part of a lesson on Alonzo Herndon, a Georgia man born into slavery who, once emancipated, worked to become a successful businessman and one of the first Black millionaires in the United States.
“Mrs. New loves her content and spends time outside of the classroom finding ways to help students connect to their learning,” a colleague shared. “She cares about the students and genuinely wants them to become lifelong learners.”
In her own words: “Make learning meaningful by connecting it to the here and now. Make it real, relevant and applicable to students’ lives whenever possible.”
Special thanks to our 2021 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration's Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton.