The crowd of colleagues rises to applaud Ms. Burke as she makes her way to the front of the auditorium.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower has surprised the third 2018 winner of his annual awards for instructional excellence!
Dr. Hightower presented a “Superintendent’s 2018 Game Changer Award” for Instructional Excellence to Woodstock High School Advanced Placement (AP) Physics teacher Kelly Burke during the school’s faculty meeting, which erupted in cheers and a standing ovation for the longtime and celebrated educator.
“You know her career, you know her history and how much she truly cares about her job and the kids,” Dr. Hightower said of Ms. Burke, who among her many honors, is a past Cherokee County School District Teacher of the Year and Top 10 Finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year and the current Cherokee County STAR Teacher. “It takes a lot of commitment, dedication and smarts to do what Kelly does.”
The Instructional Excellence honor, which is awarded to a classroom teacher, is one of the four categories of the “Game Changer Awards” that Dr. Hightower began last school year presenting annually in the spring and which he describes as CCSD’s “premier awards.”
The other categories are: Instructional Leadership, which recognizes a Principal or CCSD administrator and was presented last week to Avery ES Principal Dr. Lisa Turner; Instructional Advocacy, which recognizes an employee or community member and was presented last week to School Board Chair Kyla Cromer; and Instructional Support, which recognizes an employee with a support role and is still to be presented.
Ms. Burke, who is retiring at the end of the this school year, thanked her Woodstock High colleagues for their many years of support; she has taught at the school since it opened in 1996.
“It’s overwhelming!” she said of the surprise honor, which some of her family was brought in to witness. “We have so many outstanding educators, K-12, in our system! How do you choose just one for this? I am deeply honored… it’s an indescribable feeling.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower honors Woodstock High School teacher Kelly Burke with a 2018 Game Changer Award for Instructional Excellence.