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2012 Teacher of the Year

Etowah High's John Murnan Named 2012 CCSD Teacher of the Year

teacher of the year picture with principal
John Murnan, center, is congratulated as CCSD's Teacher of the Year by Etowah High School Principal Keith Ball, left, and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo.

Etowah HS science teacher John Murnan’s teaching philosophy focuses on the role of the student in the educational process, with a goal of helping his students recognize and achieve success. A panel of community leaders recognized success in Mr. Murnan’s nomination and application for Cherokee County School District (CCSD) Teacher of the Year and selected him as the county’s top teacher for 2012. Mr. Murnan also will serve as the CCSD nominee for 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year, which will be announced in the spring.

“I am a relentless optimist. I think that is part of the motivation that keeps me constantly renewed. I always feel like I can do a better job. As a result, I have constantly examined the way I teach,” Mr. Murnan said in his application. “I look for new resources, not only in what I teach, but how I teach. I also learn from my students. Almost every day, my students ask me a question I can’t answer. While this may be disconcerting, it also allows me the chance to learn something new and gain insight into my students. Those insights drive my future instruction.”

Mr. Murnan teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Biology at Etowah HS, as well as regular education biology and anatomy and physiology, and he has coached cross country and soccer. This is Mr. Murnan’s 24th year as a teacher and his seventh year at Etowah, having taught previously in Florida. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology, Health and Physical Education from Cornell College in Iowa; he holds a master’s degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois and a specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College. Mr. Murnan is certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and also holds certification for instruction of gifted students.

“I don’t live in the textbook, I want my students to connect their learning to their prior knowledge,” Mr. Murnan wrote in his application. “I want them to leave my classroom with a better idea of who they are and what they can do to help the world. I have never forgotten what it was like to be a student, unlike most of the children in ‘The Polar Express’ movie; I can still hear the bell.”

Mr. Murnan was visited in his anatomy and physiology class on Tuesday, October 25, by Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo, Superintendent of Schools, who surprised Mr. Murnan, his students and Etowah HS with the news of his selection as the top teacher in the District. Mr. Murnan and all school-level TOTY winners for Cherokee County will be honored by the School Board and Superintendent at a banquet in December co-hosted by Credit Union of Georgia and Northside Hospital-Cherokee.

2012 School Teachers of the Year

Arnold Mill Elementary School: Sarah Tarpley
Avery Elementary School: Jennifer Blakey
Ball Ground Elementary School: Sherry Tucker
Bascomb Elementary School: Laura Wagner
Boston Elementary School: Kathy Cash
Canton Elementary School: David Cornn
Carmel Elementary School: Dana Overton
Chapman Intermediate School: Jennifer Davis
Cherokee High School: Charley Ingham
Clayton Elementary School: Susan Harris
Creekland Middle School: Angie Rubel
Creekview High School: Kerri Schmitt
CrossRoads High School/Middle School: Carol Hammont
Dean Rusk Middle School: Heather Phillips
E.T. Booth Middle School: Joseph Lemmo
Etowah High School: John Murnan
Freedom Middle School: Kim Harris
Free Home Elementary School: Brittney LeBlanc
Hasty Elementary School: Kerry Voytek
Hickory Flat Elementary School: Rollins Caglioni
Holly Springs Elementary School: Brenda Smith
Indian Knoll ES: Jan Benefield
Johnston Elementary School: Barbara Ostrander
Knox Elementary School: Sandi Price
Liberty Elementary School: Tiffany Wilson
Little River Elementary School: Georgia Branson
L.R. Tippens Education Center: Patrick Walker
Macedonia Elementary School: Georgia Knowlton
Mill Creek Middle School: Louise Robinson
Mountain Road Elementary School: Shelley Sheldon
Oak Grove Elementary School: Kathleen Zackery
Ralph Bunche/Little River Preschool: Lisa Henderson
River Ridge High School: Laura Kudlak
R.M. Moore Elementary School: Mark Sellers
Sequoyah High School: Kim Geddes
Sixes Elementary School: Christie Sanders
Teasley Middle School: Iona Strougo
Woodstock Elementary School: Janet Rodgers
Woodstock High School: Karen Zayance
Woodstock Middle School: Stephanie Ray