2015 Award Winners
School: Partee Elementary School—Gwinnett County Schools
Ms. Dunn is an AP at Partee Elementary, who has been an educator for 12 years. Former Gwinnett County Teacher of the year has been an AP for two years and loves being a servant leader. Her career to become a teacher started when one teacher in high school helped her to realize she was not dumb but just learned a different way because she was Dyslexic. Ms. Dunn strives to help students find out how they learn and she has a passion to make sure every child is success and learns at higher levels. The highlights in her career are the students, teachers, and parents she has inspired, helped, and supported. Ms. Dunn became an AP after being the county teacher of the year and saw the need for Leadership in schools that will support all students and make sure every classroom has a highly effective teacher. She has grown her leadership skills through several leadership programs and partnership with Gwinnett Chamber and Commerce. Over all her biggest accomplishment is the successful students she has had the pleasure to teach, the parents she has been able to support, and the teachers she has been able to lead.
School: Museum School of Avondale Estates—DeKalb County Schools
Founding Elementary and Middle School Principal
Katherine Kelbaugh is a traditional public school and charter school veteran with over 15 years of experience both in the classroom and as an administrator. She is the founding principal of The Museum School of Avondale Estates, where she continues to serve. Mrs. Kelbaugh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Georgia Southern University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. She earned a Master's in Educational Psychology, with a concentration in gifted and creative education, from the University of Georgia, where she attained Leadership Certification. Kelbaugh began her career teaching 1st grade and kindergarten for four years in Georgia before teaching 3rd grade in Broward County, Fla. There, she served as the Lead Teacher, Mentor Teacher & Reading Specialist for two years at Central Charter School in Lauderdale Lakes. She took on the role of assistant principal of that school for two years. Mrs. Kelbaugh's accomplishments as the founding principal of the successful Museum School include outstanding academic results, with students scoring among Georgia's top scholars, little staff or student attrition and a school culture recently described by a SACS external review team as "out of this world."
School: KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School—Atlanta Public Schools
Dave is the founding principal of KIPP Atlanta Collegiate (KAC), which he designed and opened in 2011 with the help of his incredible team of teachers. Prior to opening KAC, Dave spent a year as a Fisher Fellow with the KIPP Foundation where he spent twelve months observing over 35 different high schools across the nation and developing the school design plan for KAC. Dave began his teaching career as a Teach for America Corps Member at Booker T. Washington High School where he taught 9th and 10th grade English. His time at Washington sparked a passion for teaching and serving the children of Atlanta which lead him to join the faculty of KIPP WAYS Academy Middle School where he taught 6th and 7th grade reading, as well as serving as the 6th Grade Grade Level chair and English Dept. Chair. Dave lives in Grant Park with his amazing wife, Emily and three incredible children who all attend local charter schools. Dave earned his BA in English with a Minor in Theater from the University of Rochester and earned his master's degree in Instructional Leadership from National Louis University. Despite growing up in Massachusetts and being an ardent fan of Boston sports teams, Dave now considers himself a proud Atlantan.
School: Couch Middle School—Gwinnett County Schools
8th Grade Math
Cindy Rose has spent the past five years making high school mathematics come alive for her seventh and eighth grade students at Couch Middle School. Prior to that, she spent twelve years teaching middle school students at Shiloh Middle School. In her first three years, she was able to put her experience as a paraprofessional with North Metro RESA to good use while working with students who had severe emotional and behavior disorders. She and her students shared their journey to success on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2000. She then became an algebra teacher who incorporated the lessons she learned about the Japanese Research model while studying as a Fulbright Memorial Scholarship recipient. Her route to teaching was non-traditional as she started her education after high school, only to see a series of unfortunate events postpone her attainment of a degree until she was in her late thirties. Working with children at an area daycare, she realized her passion for children and learning knew no bounds and she went back to school, earning three degrees in education.
School: Charles Brant Chesney Elementary Schooll—Gwinnett County Schools
Kara Cowdrick was born and raised in Atlanta. She believes everybody needs somebody to help them succeed. As a student, many inspirational educators helped Kara turn her dreams into reality. They taught her to walk with confidence, be creative, and live a life of integrity. Kara became a teacher so she can teach these same lessons to her teams of students. After graduating from Elon University in North Carolina, Kara began to live her dream of teaching fifth grade at Chesney Elementary, a diverse Title I school in Duluth, Georgia. She earned her Masters in Education degree from Georgia State University in Reading, Language, and Literacy (ESOL) in 2012. This is her 5th year in education. As a devoted educator and leader among her colleagues, Kara has had the pleasure of humbly serving as a local school and county staff development facilitator, mentor for new teachers and pre-service teachers, Teacher Advisory Council representative, Summer Bridge educator, Relay for Life Team co-coordinator, Drama Club sponsor, and Chesney Elementary's 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year. Each day in her classroom, Kara's passion for teaching her team of diverse learners' minds and hearts shines brightly.
School: Timber Ridge Elementary School—Cobb County Schools
Alison Dunford has loved teaching at Timber Ridge Elementary School since she began her career there seven years ago. She currently teaches 5th grade science, health and language arts. Prior to her teaching career, Ms. Dunford worked for Eastman Kodak Company, Corporate Real Estate, in finance. She graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and from Lesley University with a Master of Education. Ms. Dunford is currently enrolled in a Coaching Endorsement with Cobb County that will allow her to collaborate and support other teachers in line with school, county, and state initiatives for excellence and best practices in teaching. She is also currently enrolled in a Science Endorsement with Cobb County/Kennesaw State University where she is studying advanced pedagogical knowledge and science content. Science is one of her greatest passions in teaching, and in life, and she is delighted to support her students and community with this knowledge. Ms. Dunford is honored to have been chosen by her colleagues at Timber Ridge as the 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year. Ms. Dunford holds a membership in both the National and Georgia Science Teachers Associations.
School: Dolvin Elementary School—Fulton County Schools
Megan Endicott, has been teaching elementary music to kindergarten through fifth grade students for 11 years at Dolvin Elementary School and 13 1/2 years total. She completed her music education degree from the University of Georgia in 2001. Megan was named Honor Teacher of the year in 2007-2008, 2010-2011, and 2014-2015. This past December, Megan earned her master's degree in Educational Technology from Central Michigan University. Megan has been asked to host professional learning opportunities for the Fulton County elementary music educators focusing on incorporating music technology in the classroom. Additionally Megan is a member of the Fulton County Vanguard Team which has enabled her to work side by side with classroom teachers in effort to transform their classroom into a global community. Megan is a published author of a children's music book created to support the elementary music curriculum. She has recently been asked to present a workshop as an expert teacher for the National Association Music Conference NW alongside Quaver's Marvelous World of Music Curriculum. As a co-captain for the Relay for Life team, Megan leads her school in community service and charitable events while earning top fundraiser and campsite.
School: The Museum School of Avondale Estates—DeKalb County Schools
Lillian Galicia was born in Houston, Texas and moved to the Atlanta area when she was eight. She attended Georgia State University, where she received a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education with a Math and ESOL endorsement. While at Georgia State, she gained experience teaching grades Pre-K through 7th. She even had the opportunity to study abroad in China! Lillian began her career in education in the Gwinnett County Public School system and taught Kindergarten for a year. In 2010, Lillian had the honor to be one of the Museum School's founding staff members as a Kindergarten teacher. After 5 years in Kindergarten, Lillian was excited to broaden her experience and teach 2nd Grade! Since joining The Museum School, Lillian has earned a Gifted Endorsement and is currently pursuing a Masters of Education in Teacher Leadership from Kennesaw State University. Lillian has spoken in conferences at the state and national level to share best practices with other educators. She also collaborated with other Museum School teacher's to create four traveling "Museum in a Box" trunks that contain instructional guides, pre and post assessments, and museum quality artifacts that aide schools who may not be able to travel to museums.
School: F. A. Toomer Elementary School—Atlanta Public Schools
Tiffany Smith is a graduate of the University of Georgia where she received her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K through 2nd emphasis). After graduating, Ms. Smith began her teaching career at Fred Armon Toomer Elementary (FATE). She is in her fourth year teaching first grade at FATE. Ms. Smith serves on FATE's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports committee, Science Night committee, Math Day committee, Leadership Team, and as a Culture and Climate chairperson. Ms. Smith's goal as an educator is to create a classroom environment and curriculum in which her students' background, abilities, and interests are respected while helping to foster their mental, physical, and social growth.
School: Druid Hills High School—DeKalb County Schools
Once upon a time there was a young woman named Carrie Staines. Carrie found her niche quickly in college and settled on a career in social work. She was a passionate young woman involved in local and national activism, but after a few years in social work her heart hurt. She was frustrated of the tide of bad she was working so hard against and yet seeing no end in sight. Carrie realized she needed to make a change. One day, after working customer service for way too long and struggling to find a meaningful way to make rent, she found an ad in a local paper asking "Do you love to read? Would you love to teach others to love to read?" After a lengthy set of interviews and some seriously intense training, Carrie found herself in front of a group of 28 students. And you know what? It was beautiful! It was right where she belonged! After her 18 months with IRD she attended a DeKalb County Schools job fair where she picked the shortest line. She was hired on the spot, teaching for two years under a provisional certificate. Carrie loved it so much she went back to school, worked for her MAT, did her student teaching at Druid Hills High School where she has happily been a part of young people's academic growth for the last seven years!
School: C. H. Gullatt Elementary School—Fulton County Schools
Richele Lynnette Penn Stamper was born on November 6 in Baltimore, Maryland. She matriculated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree with a Mathematics concentration in 1996. She is currently enrolled at Mercer University and is pursuing her Masters in Childhood Education. Richele is currently a Pre K Teacher/Educator at Gullatt Elementary School. She has a total of six years as an educator and two of them are with Gullatt Elementary. She was nominated Teacher of the Year-2015; she is the Pre-K Department Chairperson and is a member of the Leadership Team. Richele's interest in teaching was peeked when she begin home schooling her three children. When they entered a formal school setting, she served as a volunteer and began working part-time and when afforded the opportunity to work full-time as a teacher she eagerly accepted.
Richele likes the beach, reading, watching movies, playing games and traveling. She attends United in Christ Christian Church and her faith is her foundation and believes that people should treat others the way they want to be treated. Her philosophy is educators should strive to reach students where they are and help them achieve their next level.