With more than 9,000 outstanding educators in the Cobb County School District, it has become an annual tradition to recognize a Teacher of the Year for each academic level and to give the district-wide honor to one of those three unique teachers. The District is proud to announce Mrs. Carolyn Davis of Riverside Intermediate School, Dr. Richard Kaht of Dickerson Middle School and Mrs. Beth Morgan of Lassiter High School as the 2012-2013 Cobb County Teachers of the Year! Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa made the surprise announcements during each school’s first faculty meeting of the year on Friday, Aug. 10.
Dickerson Middle School’s Dr. Richard Kaht aims to get his students excited about exploring science, using humor and hands-on reinforcement. Dr. Kaht said, “If students do not enjoy my Life Science class, it will be that much harder for them to learn the material and take ownership in the concepts.” For example, after discussing Gregor Mendel’s study of genetics by growing peas, students grew their own peas in the classroom. “I try to not only teach a subject, but also present skills of learning and the idea that they can be successful and accomplish great things.”
During the 2011-2012 school year, Dr. Kaht started Dickerson’s FTC Robotics Club for students as a fun, extracurricular extension of the science concepts covered during class time. In its first year, the team competed against teams of high school students and earned two top ten finishes. Since joining Dickerson in 1999, Dr. Kaht has participated in the DMS Leadership Team, helped implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention program and collaborated with other science teachers to improve instruction throughout Cobb County.
Beth Morgan purposefully repeats two maxims for her students at Lassiter High: “Just think,” and “‘Why?’ is the most important question.” Those simple statements have also driven Mrs. Morgan over the course of her own education and throughout her 26-year teaching career. “My overarching goal is to teach students to live their lives with ferocious attentiveness. If I can convince them to apply this attentiveness consistently to their lives then as a direct result they will think more deeply and make better choices,” said Morgan.
Mrs. Morgan instructs a variety of language and humanities courses at Lassiter, including ninth and 10th grade English, British Literature, AP Language and Composition and a film class for gifted students. Her classroom experience has led her to become a teacher leader and trainer, as well. The Georgia Department of Education selected Beth to share best practices for Advanced Placement instruction with other Georgia educators and she has led a variety of local professional development workshops for her fellow Cobb County teachers. Morgan also coordinates the Renaissance program for the school, celebrating and promoting academic achievement and community service. “I want to set the example of getting involved for the kids to see,” said Mrs. Morgan.
The faculty members at each Cobb County school select their own Teacher of the Year, who may then submit a written application for the district-wide honor. Each application is read and rated independently by a committee of administrators. The highest-rated applicants from elementary, middle, and high schools are named Teachers of the Year. The District Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the three finalists following a comprehensive interview process. The winner will be announced after the start of the school year.
Congratulations to these outstanding teachers!