Mary Clay said she was “overwhelmed and overjoyed” by the honor.
“I believe that every teacher is a miracle worker,” said Clay, who teaches at Temple Elementary. “We can work miracles and make differences in children’s lives.”
Told when she was in high school that she wouldn’t perform well at the college level, Clay said she learned to persevere, eventually graduating cum laude from the University of West Georgia.
“You are all wonderful, and you are all great,” Superintendent Scott Cowart told the 25 teachers of the year from each school who were at the meeting at Midway Church. “We appreciate everything you do for our students in Carroll County Schools.”
Awarded the first runner-up teacher of the year award was Beth Little, a fourth-grade teacher at Whitesburg Elementary who has 12 years of experience teaching, and awarded second runner-up was Kim Helton, a pre-K teacher at Central Elementary with 34 years of experience at Carroll County under her belt.
The systemwide teacher of the year was given a $500 gift card from Kroger, among other prizes donated by community business partners. The two runners-up were each given a $250 Kroger gift card, as well as a gift bag.
Also during Thursday night’s meeting, the board approved the new “bring-your-own-technology” policy, meaning high school students in Carroll County Schools will be able to use their own electronic devices come January, when the policy is planned to begin.
The policy reads that “Students shall be permitted to bring to school electronic communication devices, including cellular phones, with the specific provision that students shall not be permitted to use any personal electronic communication device without permission of school administration.”
Included in the policy are a few simple, concrete rules, including that no technology may be used without the expressed permission of the instructor, and that all websites accessed must be done on the school’s Wi-Fi network.
Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Student Services Dr. Christie Johnson described the policy as an “excellent opportunity” that will be used to capture the advantages of student-owned devices.
“We will be able to capitalize on these devices’ educational potentials, while still maintaining control in the classroom,” Johnson said. “If a school, or rather, if a teacher doesn’t want students’ technology to be used, it won’t be used.”
Johnson said the new policy speaks to the 21st century techniques and methods of learning that have become more widespread lately.
Students will be required to stay on the schools’ Wi-Fi network, which have firewalls preventing the access to inappropriate websites.
The full policy can be viewed online by going to the system’s website, clicking on the “Board Policies” link and clicking on the “Use of Electronic Devices by Students” policy under Pending Policies.
Also during Thursday’s meeting:
• The board approved the bid proposal from J&R Construction for the Central High classroom and kitchen additions. The front wing of Central High, known at the school as the “100 Hall,” is planned to be completely renovated within the next year.
The project is planned to cost almost $3.6 million when all alternates are factored in, and will leave the administration office and cafeteria untouched, but will remove the middle section of classrooms between the office and the cafeteria.
In the timeline provided by J&R Construction, the company states that the project should be completed by December 2013.
• Cowart reported on a $10,000 grant received by Bowdon High to assist it in “continuing to increase their post-secondary enrollment rates.”
The Georgia Appalachian Center for Higher Education (GACHE) grant held its annual conference in Dahlonega on Sept. 25, at which time BHS was one of 21 high schools to receive checks.