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Meet a 2022 School Teacher of the Year: Karen Schnell of Holly Springs ES STEM Academy!

Posted On: Saturday, September 10, 2022

Holly Springs- Karen Schnell

Our teachers are amazing, which is why we share the story of a school’s Teacher of the Year every week ... please help us celebrate 2022 Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy Teacher of the Year Karen Schnell!

Holly Springs Elementary School STEM Academy Teacher of the Year Karen Schnell teaches her students to be critical thinkers through project-based learning and the engineering design method.

Considered an expert in these STEM instructional strategies, Ms. Schnell not only uses them in her third-grade classes, countless teachers she has mentored now do so as well.

An example is her animal shelter lesson.  Students research the needs of pets, the specific needs of pets housed at the county’s animal shelter and how to help with those needs through a donation drive.  They then organize a schoolwide donation drive, raise awareness by designing advertising with technology tools such as PowerPoint and Flipgrid and, as a culminating activity, donate what they collected to the animal shelter.

“Learning becomes more meaningful when you can help students make a connection to their own community, and I try to foster those discussions in all aspects of my teaching,” said Ms. Schnell, now in her 21st year of teaching.

In addition to mentoring teachers individually, Ms. Schnell also supports her colleagues as a professional learning community facilitator, team lead and STEAM (STEM plus the arts) committee lead.  “She shares her years of experience to help our team stay focused and on track with our goals for the school year,” a colleague shared.  

In her own words: “The connection we make with our students is so powerful!  Establishing positive relationships with our students is extremely beneficial in a student’s learning and growth.”

Special thanks to our 2022 Legacy Makers: CCSD Teachers of the Year Celebration's Presenting Sponsors: Cherokee County Educational Foundation, Credit Union of Georgia, Northside Hospital Cherokee and Shottenkirk Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Canton. 

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