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Former Warner Robins High teacher chosen as Houston’s Teacher of the Year

PERRY -- Former Warner Robins High School math teacher Larry Wadsworth was named Houston County’s 2012-13 Teacher of the Year on Wednesday.

Wadsworth taught 10th grade math and Advanced Placement computer science courses at Warner Robins High for the last four years. This year, he will be part of a team at the school system’s central office that helps other teachers incorporate computers and technology into their daily curriculum.

Wadsworth received the title in front of about 2,500 teachers and system employees gathered for a countywide opening session at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. The event marked teachers’ first day back at school from summer break and honored school-level teachers of the year as well as Wadsworth as county-level teacher of the year.

Officials said teachers will welcome a projected 27,800 students into their classrooms when school starts next Wednesday.

In light of teacher furloughs and shortened school years in some financially strapped Georgia counties, Tom Walmer, chairman of the Houston County Board of Education, greeted teachers by telling them the coming school year would provide “a full year of instruction” and “a full year’s paycheck.”

Later in the program, Superintendent Robin Hines acknowledged that years of severe economic crisis have not been easy on the educational system but said education in Houston County was better than ever due to the teachers present at the session and a fiscally responsible board of education.

While highlighting numerous programs in place to aid student success, Hines reminded teachers that “education is a profession built on relationships.”

He encouraged those at the session to build relationships with their fellow teachers and with their students.

“Students will work harder for you if they know you care about them,” he said.

Because of donations from almost 60 community sponsors, school-level teachers of the year shared about $36,000 worth of gifts and prizes.

As Teacher of the Year, Wadsworth received $13,725 in prizes, including $3,000 in cash and the use of a car for a year from Hughes Honda.

“We can now take care of the twins,” Wadsworth said, referring to the twins he and his wife, Rachel, are expecting in November.

Accepting the award, Wadsworth first thanked his parents for pushing him to do his best, then went on to thank those who taught him, administrators who put confidence in him and fellow teachers who worked alongside him in the math department.

Wadsworth has only taught for the four years he was at Warner Robins High.

The four finalists for Teacher of the Year and their schools are: Cheryl Berry, Eagle Springs Elementary; Sonya Kiefer, Lake Joy Primary; Michelle Davis, Quail Run Elementary; and Charmaine Simmons, Pearl Stephens Elementary.

Other school-level teachers of the year are Beth Kusar, Matt Arthur Elementary; Tanya Rowburrey, Bonaire Elementary; Jalanda Goff, Bonaire Middle; Barbara McCollum, Centerville Elementary; Matthew Topping, Feagin Mill Middle; Charlene Chapman, Hilltop Elementary; Terri McCoy, Houston County Career Academy; Jarvis Dawson, Houston County Crossroads Center; Christie Blasingame, Houston County High; Kizzy Johnson, Huntington Middle; LaToya Bess, Kings Chapel Elementary; Kerry Braxton, Lake Joy Elementary; Kayleen Mims, Lindsey Elementary; Judi Swords, Linwood Elementary; Ashley Casson, Miller Elementary; Madonna Birdsell, Morningside Elementary; Mark Sams, Mossy Creek Middle; Susan Raymond, Northside Elementary; Andrea Myers, Northside High; Andrew Reeves, Northside Middle; Alicia Graham, Parkwood Elementary; Tammy Jenkins, David Perdue Elementary; Monica Atcheson, David Perdue Primary; Emily Heath, Perry High; Amanda Gibson, Perry Middle; Jessica Hawk, Perry Primary; Cynthia Vanbrunt, Russell Elementary; Tamara Kelly, Shirley Hills Elementary; Carli Roye, Thomson Middle; Ponda Hynson, Tucker Elementary; Jay Jones, Veterans High; Charlotte Graham, Warner Robins Middle; and Ashley Dees, Westside Elementary.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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