The Teachers of the Year for the Calhoun City Schools were announced this week, as the four individuals receiving the honor were recognized for their all they do for their students, schools and community.
This year’s honors went to primary school teacher Kristen Williams, elementary school teacher Laura Long, middle school teacher Justin Lindsey and high school teacher Greta Hughes — all products of Calhoun City Schools.
Williams, who graduated from Calhoun High in 2001, joined the Calhoun Primary faculty in 2006 and has played a big role for the first-grade teaching team since then, while also taking on a number of other roles.
“A recognized leader among colleagues in many areas, Kristen has served the school in numerous leadership roles, including as a technology lead teacher, mentor teacher, leadership team member, and as a math instructional lead teacher,” according to a news release from the school system.
“Students and staff alike recognize the deep dedication to boys and girls that Kristen uses as the staple of everything she does,” the news release stated. “Students are challenged to reach their full potential in Mrs. Williams’ class, and they always receive all of the needed support, intertwined with cutting edge teaching strategies, to be successful.”
A staff member who nominated Williams for the award said, “Her classroom is not just her job, it is her passion.”
“Her students feel successful when they enter her classroom because the boys and girls know Mrs. Williams is their biggest fan and cheerleader.”
Long, a 2003 Calhoun High graduate, followed her mother Pam Edwards in choosing the teaching path. Since 2007 she has worked in the elementary school, centering in on the development of engaging math instruction for fourth- and fifth-graders.
“Mrs. Long has participated in the PAGE redesign initiatives, which focused on providing the most engaging and relevant learning experiences possible for boys and girls,” the news release stated.
Long has taken on the leadership role of being the lead math teacher, and also serves on the school leadership team and as a mentor teacher, among other positions.
“Mrs. Long gets here early and stays late to ensure lessons are designed the best way possible,” a staff member said of her. “She differentiates her lessons well and uses data effectively to best meet the needs of each student.”
Lindsey, a 2009 graduate of Calhoun High, has been teaching for six years, currently teaching all content areas to students in grades six to eight in a resource setting.
As the founder of the Calhoun Autism Network, he was named the 2017-2018 Educator of the Year at the Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership’s North Georgia Autism Conference. He is also currently enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of West Georgia, where he was named a Leadership Scholar, one of only seven recipients nationwide and the only education representative to do so.
“Justin gives his heart and soul freely to his students,” a peer said of him. “He always has a smile and makes sure to provide his students with real-life experiences.”
Lindsey is the coach of the varsity cross country teams at the high school. He also works with the Calhoun Community Education Department at the Jacket Jamboree over the summer.
Hughes, a 1996 graduate of Calhoun High, is currently in her 19th year in the education profession, where she serves as the graphic design teacher at the high school. She is also the coordinator of the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education programs.
She came into the profession as a first-grade teacher at Eastside Primary School, where she went on to be named Teacher of the Year for her work in the early intervention program. Also at the primary school, she piloted the first interactive whiteboard for the primary and elementary complex.
Hughes’ progressive use of instructional technology in the classroom allowed her to step into the role of instructional technology coach for Calhoun City Schools, before moving into her current role at the College and Career Academy.
Her time with the Yellow Jacket Graphics program and the Jackets Nest School Store has led to real-world opportunities for her students, also connecting them with local community groups and organizations.
“Greta brings a smile and positive attitude to her classes while still holding them accountable and making them better people and contributors to Gordon County,” one of her peers said.