Rutland teacher is tops in Bibb

A Rutland High School history teacher was named Bibb County school system’s 2010 teacher of the year Monday, earning $1,500 and the chance to represent Bibb’s teachers.

Tony Jones was selected from among five finalists for the award.

The announcement came late Monday during a reception at Southwest High School attended by about 450 teachers.

Since 2008, Jones has taught advanced placement world history, honors geography and remedial courses for Rutland students needing to pass the state’s graduation test. He is also the school’s assistant football coach and head soccer coach.

The former commissioned military officer and restaurant manager decided to go back to college and get a teaching degree after seeing firsthand the importance of a good education.

“It was frustrating hiring employees who saw multiple minimum wage jobs as their only opportunity for survival,” Jones said. “From that point, I have dedicated myself to a love and passion for learning.”

Rutland High assistant principal Shannon Norfleet said Jones is one of the first teachers at school each morning and one of the last to go home in the evenings.

“There are few days he spends less than 12 hours at school,” Norfleet said of his dedication.

Each year, Education First, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Bibb County school system host a reception for teachers and name a systemwide teacher of the year.

“Our teachers are on the frontline making sure our kids have everything to be successful and we have great talent in our classrooms,” said Julie Moore, executive director of Education First. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to celebrate what’s happening.”

Teacher of the year finalists included Marti Parker, Alexander II Magnet School music teacher; Claire Sirmans, Hutchings Career Center math teacher; Olena Stadnik, Lane Elementary School math and science teacher; and Crystal Graham, Miller Middle School math teacher.

To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.