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Two CCSD Teachers Named Top Science Educators in Georgia!

Posted On: Friday, January 24, 2020

GSTA Teachers of the Year 2020 1 24 20

Two CCSD teachers have earned top statewide awards for science educators!  

Karen Garland of Clark Creek ES STEM Academy is the Georgia Science Teachers Association 2020 Teacher of the Year for Elementary Schools, and Dr. Brian Heglund of Etowah HS is the Teacher of the Year for High Schools.

The Science Teacher of the Year awards recognize “ongoing excellence in the teaching of science and commitment to its improvement.”  

“Excellence in science education is more important than ever for our students preparing for the STEM careers of today and tomorrow, and we’re so proud to see these educators honored as the best in their field,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said.  “Their students and their colleagues have celebrated Karen and Brian many times in their careers, so this statewide recognition by their peers comes as no surprise and is well deserved.”

One winner at each level -- elementary, middle and high -- is selected and, as part of the honor, receives a $1,500 grant.  The winners will be honored at the Association’s annual conference on Feb. 14 in Columbus.

“These teachers competed against the best science educators in our state to win these recognitions,” Association Awards Chair Dr. Sally Creel said.  “All those who were nominated and applied are to be commended.”  

Science lab teacher Ms. Garland, who is her school’s current Teacher of the Year and was named on of CCSD’s four finalists for the districtwide title, recently was tapped to serve on the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia’s Board as its Council of Outdoor Learning Chair.  She is a past Department of Natural Resources’ Georgia Conservation Teacher of the Year and Georgia Department of Education Science Ambassador, among her many honors.

AP Physics teacher Dr. Heglund, who was named his school’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, has been selected numerous times by Etowah’s STAR Student as the STAR Teacher, as well as by valedictorians and salutatorians as their Scholars Banquet Honored Teacher, in recognition of the extraordinary impact he has made in their education.  An AP Reader selected to score exams nationwide based on his extensive knowledge, he’s also consistently a top-ranked teacher statewide across metrics including the Inter-rater Reliability Study, Teacher Assessment on Performance Standards and Teacher Keys Effectiveness System’s Student Perception Survey.

Additionally, as part of the Association awards and grants program for this year, Dr. Heglund has earned a “mini grant” for the school’s America Rocketry Challenge Team and Dean Rusk MS teacher Teresa Hutto won one as well for a safety initiative.

The nonprofit association of professional science teachers is focused on supporting excellent science teaching for all students in Georgia.

The Cherokee County School Board and Dr. Hightower will recognize Ms. Garland and Dr. Heglund at the March School Board meeting.

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