‘Excellence’ in public schools recognized at luncheon

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CUMMING, Ga. — The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce along with the Forsyth County School System recognized several educators and community members at their annual Celebration of Excellence event held at the Forsyth Conference Center Friday, Feb. 14.

At the conclusion of the event, 2013 Teacher of the Year Nick Crowder announced the 2014 Teacher of the Year winners from each school.

Darla Light, chair of the Board of Education, announced the three finalists for the county Teacher of the Year were Julie Auten of Silver City Elementary, Kristen Deuschle of Piney Grove Middle and Lisa Robinson of Lambert High.

This year’s Teacher of the Year winner was Kristen Deuschle.

“My students are my motivators, my evaluators and my greatest champions,” Deuschle wrote in her essay.

“I consider this award a win for all media specialists and I hope that it sheds light on the value of our position,” Deuschle told the Forsyth Herald. “It is because of supportive administration, co-workers and parents that I am able to lead our Piney Grove students into 21st century learning. I have the best job in the entire world.”

School Superintendent L.C. “Buster” Evans thanked the school system’s parent-teacher organizations, community partners, volunteers and teachers for their commitment to the county’s educational program.

“We have approximately 976 active partners working with 35 schools and various departments in our system,” Evans said. “We are blessed to have them and supportive and engaged parents.”

Evans said in 2013, the Partners in Education program provided more than $1.5 million in funding to the school system, which allowed the school system to further enhance the lives of the students.

James McCoy, president of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce, thanked the sponsors of the event, including the title sponsor, Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

“It’s communities like ours that can come together and provide a strong foundation of learning that create critical thinkers,” said Lynn Jackson, administrator at Northside Hospital-Forsyth.

She said critical thinkers are important to the future of our country.

“Viagra was initially created for high blood pressure,” Jackson said. “But it had this unique little side effect and it took a critical thinker to figure out what to do about that.”

The event served lunch catered by Tam’s Backstage with music performed by the South Forsyth High School jazz band.

Awards were given to Gretchen Evans for Mentor of the Year, the Second Brigade Living Historians for Friend of the School, Jennie Hartzler for Volunteer of the Year, Kelly Johnson of North Georgia Lending as Silver Partner of the Year and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9143 as the Gold Partner of the Year.

The Don Hendricks Partnership award, given by the family of the late Don Hendricks, an active community and school board member, was given to Automation Direct.

“This is the highest honor that a partner in education can receive,” Evans said.