Teachers of the Year named

Published 3:33 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Nine schools in the Decatur County School System have chosen an educator to represent their school as their 2010-2011 teacher of the year.

These teachers are characterized as exceptional educators who inspire both teachers and students to learn.

Each teacher now has the opportunity to become the Decatur County Teacher of the Year.

During the summer, the teachers will have time to complete their applications, which includes three essays—a professional biography, their personal philosophy of teaching and their opinion about educational issues and trends.

The applications will be judged by members of the Teachers of the Year committee, which is comprised of former teachers of the year and other educators.

Each of the educators will also be observed for 20 minutes in their classrooms by members of the committee in August as they conduct a lesson plan of their choice for their students.

The teachers of the year will be recognized at a September meeting of the Decatur County Board of Education where they will be served dinner and the board will announce the one educator chosen to represent Decatur County as teacher of the year.

That teacher will also have the opportunity to submit an application to become the Georgia Teacher of the Year, competing against the top teachers from each district in the state.

Teachers of the year

Holly Burdick teaches second grade at Potter Street Elementary School and currently teaches reading and mathematics. She has been teaching for 13 years and has taught pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first and second grades. She received her bachelor’s in early childhood education from Valdosta State University and then her master’s in curriculum and instruction from Nova Southeastern University. She is married to Tim Burdick and has two sons, Holden Burdick and Zach Burdick.

Amber Esquivel of Bainbridge has been teaching kindergarten at Elcan-King Elementary School for six years. She received her bachelor’s in early childhood education from the University of Georgia. Esquivel received her master’s in curriculum instruction and technology and became a specialist in curriculum, instruction, management and administration from Nova Southeastern University. She is married to Mark Esquivel and has one son, 15-month-old Mark Andrew Esquivel.

Stephanie Landeen of Bainbridge has been a third-grade teacher at West Bainbridge Elementary School for three years. She also taught fifth grade at the school for nine years. Landeen graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s in early childhood education, master’s in early childhood education and a doctorate in curriculum, instruction and management. She is married to Rick Landeen and has three children, Gage Crews, a recent Wake Forrest University graduate; Chelcee Crews, a recent Bainbridge High School graduate, and Kameron Landeen, an upcoming seventh-grade student at West Bainbridge Middle School.

Christina Logue of Bainbridge has been a physical science teacher at Hutto Middle School for two years. She received her an associate’s in arts at Bainbridge College and her a bachelor of science at Thomas University. She is currently pursuing her master’s from Valdosta State University. Logue is married to Justin Logue, who also teaches at Hutto Middle School. She is active in Taekwando and an avid baker and reader.

Joseph L. Miller has been teaching at West Bainbridge Middle School for four years where he has taught sixth-grade social studies and sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade gifted classes. He received his doctorate of comprehensive vocational education from Florida State University. He is married to Brenda Miller, who is an art teacher at Elcan-King Elementary School. They have two sons, Sean Miller and Blake Miller.

Donna Roland of Donalsonville has been teaching at Bainbridge High School for 15 years and currently teaches reading I, reading II and ninth-grade literature. She received her associate’s of education from Bainbridge College and her bachelor’s of education from Georgia Southwestern State University. Roland has three children, Jared Lovering, Heather Curles and Jonas Lovering, and four grandchildren. She is also the Title One Department Chair at Bainbridge High School.

Patsy Smith of Tallahassee, Fla., has been teaching at Lillian E. Williams Elementary School for 15 years. She previously taught in the Burke County and Chatham County school systems. She received her associate’s in arts from Alabama Southern College and her bachelor’s in science from Troy University.

Diane Welch has been employed as a speech language pathologist for 10 years, nine of those in Decatur County. She teaches at Jones-Wheat Elementary School. She received her associate’s of arts from Thomas University before transferring to Valdosta State University where she received a bachelor’s and master’s in speech language pathology. She is married to Bruce Welch and has three children, Cole Prince, Gayla Prince and Gerren Prince.

Krista Whittaker of Bainbridge has been teaching third grade at John Johnson Elementary for 12 years. She is married to Chuck Whittaker and they have one son, 2-year-old Aiden Whittaker. She received her bachelor’s of early childhood education and a master’s in education leadership and supervision.