PAGE One Magazine Spring 2022

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What My

Students Have Taught Me Georgia Educators Speak about What They’ve Learned — including Empathy, Building Relationships, and More

ALSO: Student-Centric PL STAR & FGE Educator Grants Teacher of the Year More...

Earn your Graduate Degree in Education from Georgia College Our online graduate programs give you the ability to further your education from wherever you may be. You’ll receive a high-quality, affordable, and accredited program that will allow you to maintain your work and home life while pursuing your degree. We offer online programs in: • Educational Leadership (Ed.S. and M.Ed.)* • Special Education (M.A.T., M.Ed. and Ed.S.) • Teacher Leadership (Ed.S.) • Certification Programs • Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.) Library Media Certification Dyslexia Certification • Instructional Technology (M.Ed.) Instructional Technology Certification • Early Childhood Education (M.Ed.) Educational Leadership Tier I • Library Media (M.Ed.) Positive Behavior Interventions and • Middle Grades Education (M.A.T. and M.Ed.) Supports (PBIS) Certification Computer Science for Teacher Certification • Secondary Education (M.A.T.) *For those who hold clear and renewable Leadership/Tier II certification at the master’s degree level, we offer the Specialist in Leadership degree only.

Our admission criteria no longer require the GRE, MAT, or Georgia College Graduate Writing Assessment. We are nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC).


CONTENTS 5 6 8 10



EDITORIAL STAFF Craig Harper Ramona Mills



Executive Director

Executive Editor/Writer

LaTria Garnigan

Dolly Purvis

Graphic Designer/Writer


Graphic Designer/Writer


PAGE Will Award $100,000 This Year

What My Students Have Taught Me

PAGE One Official Publication of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators

Vol. 43 No. 2

12 PAGE ADVOCACY 2022 Legislative Session

14 ADVOCACY IN ACTION PAGE Day on Capitol Hill


As the largest independent educator association in the state and nation, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) exists to support our members who serve in every Georgia public school. PAGE provides unparalleled legal coverage, legislative advocacy, professional learning, grants, and scholarships. PAGE honors and encourages educational excellence through student programs including Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR), Future Georgia Educators (FGE), Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD), and PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades.

37 THIS IS PAGE PL “This course has opened my eyes to see how student engagement influences learning.”

PAGE Teacher Pipeline Initiatives

19 STAR STUDENTS & TEACHERS 2022 State Winners Named

“It definitely made a difference in my professional life. It helped me take a step back … and consider the student’s experience in my lessons.”


Westminster, Elite Scholars Academy Win Top Honors

MY STUDENTS 26 WHAT HAVE TAUGHT ME Reflections from Georgia Educators









Paid Parental Leave for Qualifying Educators PAGE One | 3

Need to Contact PAGE? Here’s How: General Inquiries 770-216-8555 (option 3); 800-334-6861 (option 3) PAGE Attorneys / Legal Services 770-216-8555 (option 1) Professional Learning 706-459-0302

Legislative Services 770-216-8555 Member Services 770-216-8555 (option 2)

To locate contact information for your membership services representative, turn to page 59 of this issue or visit

2022HowToContact_HalfPage_050922.indd 1

5/9/22 10:42 AM


There’s only one home for the traditions, stories and iconic figures of the 150 years of Saturdays: The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame.

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Spring 2022

In This Issue

At PAGE, we’ve never understood limiting teacher appreciation to one week a year. For us, every day is teacher appreciation day as we celebrate the opportunity to serve you as you serve others. Yet, how exciting it was for us to deliver to you a series of video tributes from PAGE staff during Teacher Appreciation Week. We hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as we enjoyed making them! And we hope you find joy here as well — in the stories and images of PAGE One.

program. And hear from Georgia’s Teacher of the Year and finalists on pages 52-54.

In this issue, PAGE members from throughout the state share insights into one of their greatest joys — lessons of life and learning taught to them by students. “Sometimes,” says a first-grade teacher from Laurens County, “when students bring up something, these are the most important life lessons that can be taught in class.” Get ready to be inspired as you read this month’s feature story, “What My Students Have Taught Me,” beginning on page 26. And, PAGE president Dr. Oatanisha Dawson also shares lessons learned from students on page 6.

And, a spring issue would not be complete without a look back at PAGE advocacy during the legislative session. You’ll find legislative highlights as well as photos from PAGE Day on Capitol Hill beginning on page 12.

For more about exceptional teachers, students, and the mutually transformative bond they share, turn to page 19 for a behind-the-scenes look at PAGE STAR — the state’s premiere student and teacher achievement recognition Spring 2022

Great teachers love giving encouragement and support to students, and we love giving the same to you. This time each year, we take particular joy in awarding PAGE Educator Grants. On pages 10-11, you’ll find more on this program that provides $100,000 annually toward classroom resources and professional growth for PAGE members.

From all of us to each of you, thank you for the opportunity to provide the best in member services and legal protection. May you enjoy this issue of PAGE One, and may you forever thrive.

Ramona Mills Executive Editor PAGE One | 5

From the President

Dr. Oatanisha Dawson greets students during morning arrival at Goodyear Elementary School.


n the midst of a pandemic that continues to exacerbate long-standing challenges while relentlessly creating new ones, I marvel at the incredible resilience, courage, and innovation I encounter daily as I walk the halls of my school: teachers gripping the attention of students who are geographically miles away but virtually present within just a few inches — toggling between screens and juggling visual aids to ensure that the best possible foundation is laid in developing standards concepts; parents and community partners demonstrating their unyielding support of us all through special deliveries, pop-up motivational signage, and a host of audible cards, animated text messages, and uplifting emails; district leaders redesigning programs and remodeling systems to adapt to right now needs. It is students, however, who fascinate me the most. Even in this seemingly unending pandemic, they somehow still enter early morning doors with smiles gleaming through 6 | PAGE One

their eyes. And, though they may enter with a tremendous weight of concern, still they enter with expectation and hope. As adults, we know that life is not void of struggle. And so often, we turn to tools gained through experience to help us overcome. But what if not all these tools were learned in adulthood? What if some were cultivated when we were children? Both research and my own personal journey have shown me that positive childhood experiences can significantly counteract the adverse effects of negative ones. It is within this intersection of positive and negative experiences that the building blocks of resilience form through supportive relationships with adults. So, as I reflect on the beam of hope that accompanies students entering the school building, I am reminded of what they have taught me, as well as lessons from my own childhood. And, I smile with gratitude at those lessons and how each has shaped me as an educator. Spring 2022

It is students who fascinate me the most. Even in this seemingly unending pandemic, they somehow still enter early morning doors with smiles gleaming through their eyes.

Lesson One: Resilient children make resilient adults. At times it is apparent that a student is not emotionally ready for the day. A simple greeting, compliment, or praise can sometimes turn that around. At other times, more is needed, and those are the instances in which I remind myself that it costs me absolutely nothing to give one minute more as it could make the difference between a not-so-good day versus a good day for them.

Lesson Two: What we say matters. When I overhear a teacher speaking with a student and concluding with a positive statement such as “I want you to do well,” or “this is because I know how much you have grown and you, too, should be proud of yourself.” I quickly remember that I was once that kid being pulled to the side and having positive affirmations spoken over me more times than I could count. These are the moments when, as Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg describes in his book “Building Resilience in Children and Teens,” adults can provide children with both “roots” and “wings.”

Lesson Three: Children sometimes struggle to see themselves in the future. For children living in poverty and chronically stressed environments, concepts like saving, goal-setting, and even tomorrow can be difficult to grasp. They have to survive today, eat today, live today and, when possible, enjoy today. This serves as a reminder that, as adults, we can and should make a positive difference for our students in the present. By loving and encouraging them through their struggles today, we help strengthen and prepare them for the trials of tomorrow. You are doing incredible work that benefits all of us — in our shared present as well as the many tomorrows to come. May we all stay strong and resilient as we continue to learn and implement the vital lessons that our students bring to us. n

Oatanisha Dawson received her teacher certification from Armstrong Atlantic University in 2004. She holds a Master of Middle Grades Education (2007), a Specialist degree in Leadership (2010), and a Doctor of Education (2013) — all of which were completed at Georgia Southern University. Dawson presently serves as principal of Goodyear Elementary in Brunswick, Georgia. Spring 2022

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From the Executive Director

2022 PAGE State STAR Banquet.

STAR Recognition Provides Powerful Professional Affirmation The STAR program provides some of the most rewarding and meaningful career moments for educators. The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program is a point of pride for the PAGE Foundation and for PAGE. It’s a special honor for us to acknowledge the significant, positive relationships between student and teachers. I especially appreciate attending regional events leading up the state banquet and hearing about the beautiful moments of

Teacher Kerry Hammond and student Caden Wolf.

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learning, challenges, and support that students share about their teachers. And — invariably — the teachers express their appreciation to the students for how they inspired, challenged, and encouraged them. Student Caden Wolf honored his elementary teacher Kerry Hammond of Bartow County, who now serves as an assistant principal. Hammond’s STAR recognition from much earlier in her student’s academic years falls outside the more typical selection of a student’s high school educator. Their relationship highlights the lasting connection that occurs between teachers and students across the full range of K-12 experience. “Caden made me a better teacher,” Hammond said in her remarks at the northwest Georgia regional STAR banquet in Rome. “He came to school every day hungry to know more. He wanted to be challenged. Caden wanted to learn something new. And, in pushing himself, he pushed me. … I couldn’t show up with a good lesson, I had to show up with a great lesson.”

Spring 2022

“You have given me everything a teacher wants and needs … to be remembered for having made an educational impact.” — Kerry Hammond Hammond also shared about her desire to be that kind of teacher for all of her students so that they were “empowered to become their best selves through education.” Affirmation that you really are making a difference in the lives of students supplies the fuel to keep going in the midst of challenges. Such was a moment shared by teacher Jennifer Tinnell at a metro Atlanta STAR banquet at Georgia State University. She said that being selected the STAR teacher and receiving recognition from student Jason Woo renewed her passion for teaching and reminded her why she became a teacher. Tinnell, who also coaches track and tennis, said her style in the classroom and with her athletes can be “a little quirky and enthusiastic.” She said she does whatever she can to get them involved in what they’re doing. “Teachers feel like kids don’t recognize all that we do for them. Teenagers don’t always acknowledge that. Jason did. It helped me see that kids do see our effort.” Most often the rewards of teaching are intrinsic, and educators have to generate their own motivation and excitement. STAR recognition served as a very meaningful external recognition of her effort, Tinnell said. And, being at the event with other teachers and their students was a powerful reminder of the importance of the profession.

Teacher Jennifer Tinnell and student Jason Woo.

because it didn’t come from an administrator. It didn’t come from someone’s observation of my work. It’s coming from a student. You have given me everything a teacher wants and needs … to be remembered for having made an educational impact.” Thank you, Georgia educators, for doing the hard work every day to prepare your students for their future. Know that you’re a STAR Teacher in the eyes of many students and are making a difference. n

Many STAR teachers echo Kerry Hammond’s words when she said at the Rome event: “Today I am receiving the greatest educational honor of my career. It is the greatest

Executive Director Craig Harper joined PAGE in 2015 after more than 22 years in Georgia public school leadership positions. A certified trainer for Crucial Conversations and host of the PAGE Talks podcast, Harper holds a master’s in public administration from Valdosta State University. Spring 2022

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Granting Opportunity

PAGE to Award $100,000 in Grant Funds this Year PAGE is continually inspired by the passion and innovation with which Georgia educators are meeting students’ needs. You are doing incredible work — often with limited resources. And, as you innovate to teach and inspire students,

PAGE is pleased to award Educator Grants to more than 200 members this year to help secure additional resources. In their own words, a few 2022 recipients describe the impact PAGE educator grants are making in their classrooms.

“Thank you again for this wonderful grant!

These are pictures of me and some of my students with the educational material that I bought with the grant. I teach ESOL students from K-12, that is why my material is so diverse. Thanks to the PAGE grant, I had the opportunity to buy educational material to help my students develop different skills that would improve not only their academic performance, but also their social and emotional intelligence, aspects they need to work on due to the fact that they come from different backgrounds and cultures.” Alexandra Garcia Flowers — Emanuel County Schools

“With the wonderful support of the PAGE Educator Grant...

I was able to purchase a set of Keva Planks — wooden blocks that can be used to design structural engineering projects and to solve STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) activities. Students are able to build marble coasters, structures, and complete design challenges that can be differentiated based on grade and learning level. The Keva Planks can be used in all 6th through 8th grade STEM classes at North Tattnall Middle School and are reusable as well!” Inga Cashon – Tattnall County

“First, let me take this time to thank you for picking my grant application.

The TV screen has been so helpful in allowing me to have small groups and allowing my students to see math problems as a group. Having the small whiteboards, with markers and erasers, allows us to work on problems then talk through them as a group. The TV screen has also allowed my kids to meet IEP transition goals by presenting their research on college and jobs after high school. I know these items will help my students achieve their education goals and help them master state standards.” William Kile – Screven County

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Spring 2022

“I’d like to thank PAGE for awarding my media center the PAGE Educator Grant.

I’m always looking for ways to encourage students to come to the media center and to read. I used our funds for a FitDesk bike that has been a hit! Students are able to burn off some energy while they read and have even made a ‘leaderboard’ to compete with one another. We’ve loved having it as an addition to the library!” Jennifer Smith – Henry County

“Thank you PAGE!

After being awarded the PAGE Educator Grant, we were able to create a Lego Wall for our school. We purchased all the materials needed to create the wall in addition to over 9,000 Legos! Teachers can use this amazing area as an extension of the classroom; as a positive behavior incentive; small group; and even whole group lessons. With the Lego Wall, the possibilities are endless. ” Jenna Bolling – Lanier County

“Thanks so much for this opportunity!

I have attached a photo of 2 Qballs I purchased for my classroom and to share with my teammates, along with the sanitizer. My children are enjoying greatly tossing the mic and having their voice amplified!” Farrer Peeler – Putnam County

“With our PAGE grant, we bought felting supplies.

Materials include colored felt, roving, pads, lots of needles & finger protectors. We will be making soft Kawaii animal characters using a needle felting technique, and possibly some flat 2-D work with wet felting. ” Nicole Jacobs-Licht – DeKalb School of the Arts

“Thank you PAGE...

For this amazing opportunity to give back to me and my kiddos! I will be utilizing the math manipulatives that I purchased with the PAGE grant to assist my 3rd grade students in building their number sense for this year and years to come. ” Mallory McCrary – Wayne County

Spring 2022

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PAGE Advocacy in the 2022 Legislative Session PAGE engages lawmakers on a variety of issues that affect educators and students throughout the year and especially during each session of the Georgia General Assembly. Persistent focus areas of PAGE advocacy include school funding, teacher evaluation, assessment and accountability, the Teachers Retirement System, and preventing the expansion of private school vouchers. In collaboration with the PAGE Legislative Task Force, the PAGE legislative team identifies specific issues that require legislative action or have emerged as an area of legislative interest. The team promotes policies that aid educators and students and works to deter those that do not.

Margaret Ciccarelli interviewing with GPB ‘Lawmakers’ (Jan. 26, 2022).

A summary of PAGE 2022 legislative priorities and advocacy highlights from the session follow. To access the full slate of priorities and learn more about PAGE legislative advocacy, visit and choose the Legislative tab.

Highlights: 2022 PAGE Legislative Priorities Provide strategic investments that address students’ core academic needs: Ensure public schools maintain core operations by adding back the $383 million cut to the QBE formula and fulfilling the second portion of the promised $5,000 educator pay raise. Minimize student learning disruptions by providing adequate funding for substitutes, school counselors, and instructional technology. Prevent diversion of additional public funds to private schools through vouchers. Support a strong professional educator workforce by bolstering recruitment and retention efforts for public schools: Enable teachers to provide effective instruction by ensuring adequate support staff are available and aiding new teachers in mastering pedagogical skills and content knowledge. Josh Stephens testifying on SB Encourage teachers to remain in the classroom by maintaining robust support for the Teachers Retirement System. 12 | PAGE One

377 to Senate Education and Youth Committee (Feb. 28, 2022).

Spring 2022

Highlights: 2022 PAGE Legislative Advocacy Successfully advocated for: A $2,000 pay raise for certified educators in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, a 5.4 percent pay increase for state-funded school support staff, and restoration of dollars previously cut from the QBE funding formula for public schools.

Claire Suggs analyzing divisive concepts legislation in a PAGE video (March 25, 2022).

Passage of HB 385, which allows retired educators with 30 years of creditable service to return to teaching full-time in high-need

subject or geographic areas after sitting out one year. Reducing the proposed expansion of Georgia’s existing tax credit private school voucher program and adding much-needed transparency requirements. Removal of criminal penalties for educators from SB 226, a bill which prohibits the distribution of harmful materials to students.

How the PAGE Legislative Team Advocates Engaging lawmakers: Communicates with policymakers to raise awareness of issues that matter to educators and students. Developing and disseminating policy resources: Creates informational resources on relevant policy items including issue briefs, research, survey reports, and bill analyses. Monitoring policy landscape: Tracks policy development at the state and federal levels to identify changes that may affect educators and students.

Collaborating with partners: Communicates and often works collaboratively with other organizations that advocate for public education, including the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, the Georgia School Superintendents Association, the Georgia School Boards Association, and the Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Supporting member advocacy: Organizes PAGE Day on Capitol Hill to provide members an opportunity to engage their representatives directly on key education issues.

Stay in the Know & Join Us in Advocating for Educators, Students, & Public Education Subscribe to PAGE Capitol Reports at Choose the Legislative tab, click on Capitol Reports, and select “Subscribe to Capitol Report Blog.” Margaret Ciccarelli Director of Legislative Services

Josh Stephens Legislative Servies Specialist

Claire Suggs Senior Education Policy Analyst Your PAGE Legislative Team at the Capitol on Sine Die (April 4, 2022).

Spring 2022

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AdvocAcy in Action: PAGE dAy on cAPitol Hill 2022

Photos by LaTria Garnigan and Sam Ratcliffe.


ducation-focused advocacy took center stage beneath the gold dome on Feb. 22 as PAGE hosted our annual Day on Capitol Hill. In partnership with the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders (GAEL) and Georgia Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (GACTE), PAGE welcomed more than 200 educators, speakers, and guests to the event. In addition to one-on-one advocacy with legislators, attendees heard from numerous speakers including Rep. David Wilkerson, Sen. Lindsey Tippins, and State School Superintendent Richard Woods. Though unable to join in person this year, Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp addressed the group by video.

Nathifa Carmichael, GaDOE

Educators are the most effective advocates for public education. We look forward to seeing you at next year’s PAGE Day on Capitol Hill event on Feb. 21, 2023. We also encourage you to make your individual voices heard by lawmakers yearround. You can find your legislator’s contact information at To reach PAGE legislative staff, email us at

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Rep. David Wilkerson and PAGE Day on Capitol Hill participant.

Spring 2022

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill participant.

PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper, State School Superintendent Richard Woods, and PAGE President Dr. Oatanisha Dawson.

PAGE Director of Legislative Services Margaret Ciccarelli.

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill participants.

Spring 2022

Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp.

PAGE Day on Capitol Hill participant.

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Students from Lowndes County High School (above) celebrate during the Knowledge Bowl at the PAGE FGE Day at Valdosta State University. Hands-on workshops (center) were a key component of the PAGE FGE Day at The University of West Georgia. Georgia Teacher of the Year Cherie Goldman (right) was the keynote speaker at the PAGE FGE Day 2022 at Georgia College and State University. Photos by Sam Ratcliffe and Dolly Purvis.

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Spring 2022

Popular PAGE Future Georgia Educators Days and Collegiate Training Sessions Return after Pandemic Hiatus By Dolly Purvis With 10 Future Georgia Educators (FGE) Days and numerous sessions at colleges of education this school year, popular PAGE programs for students considering or pursuing a career in education rebounded after a pandemicinduced hiatus. “We were pleased with the number who were able to join us despite the ongoing challenges the pandemic presents to educators and travel plans,” said Mary Ruth Ray, PAGE FGE Coordinator. A partnership with colleges of education across the state, FGE Days offer an exciting schedule of professional learning, networking, and college visitation. Activities include: • An award-winning educator who brings words of encouragement and insight. Cherie Goldman, this year’s Georgia Teacher of the Year, spoke at three of the events, and several Teacher of the Year finalists joined PAGE at other FGE Days • FGE Knowledge Bowl, a quiz-bowl competition • A college fair where students can visit with recruiters • Interactive workshops presented by college faculty and education majors

“Nothing is more critical to overall student achievement than having a quality teacher, and these student programs are our investment in helping young people in their journey to become that quality teacher.” - Mary Ruth Ray PAGE FGE Day Coordinator

Director of Membership Jimmy Jordan Retires

Spring 2022

At the collegiate level, PAGE College Services Representatives (CSRs) were delighted to return to an inperson model this year, traveling to universities throughout the state to present learning modules — created to assist

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Above, PAGE staff attorney Lauren Atkinson offers Professional Standards Commission Code of Ethics guidance to Middle Georgia State University students. Below left, snapping photos was a popular activity at PAGE FGE Day at North Georgia College and State University. Below center, Mary Ruth Ray, PAGE College Services Representative and PAGE FGE Day Coordinator leads a round of Knowledge Bowl. Below right, applause abounded at PAGE FGE Day at the University of Georgia. Photos by Dolly Purvis.

with reinforcing the teacher pipeline — that expand on the solid foundation the state’s teacher preparation programs provide. PAGE also continues to offer the training virtually, as necessary. The modules offer tips on resume writing, interview skills, and a “nuts and bolts” look at the first year as a teacher, including details about salary, benefits, cafeteria plans, and more. Many of these events also include Code of Ethics training from PAGE staff attorneys to add a layer of support as these new professionals prepare to enter the field. “The intent of these sessions is to alleviate many of the things that tend to blindside teachers during their first year,” Ray said. “Any contribution PAGE can make to lessening

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a first-year teacher’s frustration and, thus, increase the likelihood that he or she will remain in the profession is central to our overall mission.” With these programs for students, PAGE — the state’s largest educator association — demonstrates its commitment to helping cultivate the next generation of Georgia’s teachers. “I’m proud of the work PAGE does with high school and college students,” Ray said. “Nothing is more critical to overall student achievement than having a quality teacher, and these student programs are our investment in helping young people in their journey to become that quality teacher.”

Spring 2022

PAGE STAR Celebrates Academic Achievement, Bonds Between Students and Educators By Dolly Purvis Every spring, communities throughout Georgia come together to honor the state’s highest achieving students and the teachers most instrumental in their academic development at the PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) events. This year, Jon Qiaoen Liu, a senior at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, captured the State PAGE STAR Student award. He named Lowndes County’s Rebecca Martin, as his STAR Teacher. Liu won a $5,000 scholarship from PAGE, and Martin received a $2,500 cash award from the Frances Wood Wilson Foundation. Both received engraved glass bowls to commemorate the moment.

Charlye MiKayla Allen, a senior at Early County High School in Blakely, is the Runner-up State PAGE STAR Student. She named Early County’s Dr. Charla Allen as her STAR Teacher. Charlye Allen received a $1,000 scholarship from the PAGE Foundation, and Dr. Allen won the $500 Mozelle Christian Endowment Award. They took home engraved glass vases to mark their success. The path to State STAR Student and Teacher begins at individual schools, continues through local and regional levels, and culminates at the state PAGE STAR banquet in Duluth. With the help of more than 170 sponsors (civic groups, chambers of commerce, businesses, boards of education, individual schools,

From left, PAGE Foundation President Hayward Cordy, State STAR Teacher Rebecca Martin of Lowndes County High School, State STAR student Jon Qiaoen Liu of Lowndes County High School, and PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper.

Spring 2022

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and others) as well as the hard work of 12 STAR region chairs, PAGE presents this annual, two-month-long festival of academic success. At its heart, PAGE STAR transcends the awards themselves. It is a testament to the vital role educators play every day in developing their students as scholars and people. And those strong relationships between STAR students and their STAR teachers are immediately apparent. “When you talk with STAR students, it doesn’t take long to understand the strong bond they have with the teachers they choose,” said PAGE Star State Coordinator Veronica Sims. “And the STAR teachers rarely talk about themselves. They speak about how proud they are of their students. And the counselors at the individual schools love the program. They are always excited to share the news of their winning student. PAGE loves showcasing these students and teachers and is so proud of all of them.” “STAR is just one of the many ways PAGE applauds educators’ dedication to the craft of teaching,” said PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper. “These memorable moments of recognition of the tangible impact educators have on individual students is just a fraction of the thanks all of Georgia’s teachers deserve every day.” For more than 60 years, hundreds of high school students have anxiously awaited news that they have garnered one of the most prestigious academic achievements attainable. And hundreds of educators have been honored to learn that they have been chosen to join the galaxy of STAR teachers. In total, STAR has paid tribute to more than 28,000 students and educators as it has celebrated the millions of hours of hard work—both inside and outside the classroom —required to

From left, PAGE Foundation President Hayward Cordy, State STAR Teacher Runner-up Dr. Charla Allen of Early County High School, State STAR Student Runner-Up Charlye MiKayla Allen of Early County High School, and PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper.

create all the stars in the program’s universe. And, for more than 20 years, PAGE has delighted in its role in shepherding the effort. To learn more about the PAGE STAR program, visit

Region 3B winner Wonuola Abiodun of Henry County’s Union Grove High School, center, tells those gathered at the 2022 PAGE State STAR Banquet a little bit about herself. With her are Chungin Lee, a Region 3A winner from Gwinnett County’s Peachtree Ridge High School, left, and Paige Hackleman, a Region 4 winner from Oconee County’s Oconee High School.

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Spring 2022

Program Milestone: Educator Honored with 30th STAR Teacher Recognition Imagine an educator so adept in the classroom and so beloved by students that she’s chosen as STAR Teacher a record 30 times. That educator is Kay Barnes. “Every student who has chosen me has made me feel humbled and honored and encouraged me to be an even better teacher,” said Barnes who teaches at Flint River Academy in Meriwether County. “They honor me by letting me know I’m doing the job I should be doing,” she continued. Barnes’ path to education was not as direct as some. After graduating magna cum laude in mathematics from Wesleyan College, she thought she would pursue engineering or statistical analysis. Then, she filled in for a teacher and found her calling. Currently, she teaches upper-level honors math (including AP calculus), has no immediate plans to retire, and will continue teaching as long as she can work calculus problems.

Abhinav Kona, a Region 3A winner from Cobb County’s Walton High School, above, answers questions during the banquet. Macon’s Charles Richardson, below, emceed the event.

“I love what I do,” said Barnes, “and I look forward to going to work every day. This is a real blessing! Thanks to all my students for making my life’s work so interesting, rewarding, and challenging. I appreciate receiving your texts, e-mails, and notes - always ending with what we had as our motto: A day without math is a day without sunshine.”

Kay Barnes, right, a mathematics teacher at Meriwether County’s Flint River Academy, has been named STAR Teacher a record 30 times. With her is PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper.

Spring 2022

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Academic Bowl Returns In-Person for The Westminster Schools’ Victory


The Westminster Schools — 2022 PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades State Champions. Photos by Dolly Purvis.

he goal of the PAGE Academic Bowl for Middle Grades is to inspire students to excel academically, enhance student self-confidence and self-esteem through significant achievement, and develop both a team and competitive spirit. For the first year since 2020, the program returned to an in-person competition. The Westminster Schools, an independent school in Fulton County, captured the state championship on Saturday, Jan. 22, at Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville. Nineteen teams traveled from throughout the state to participate in a round-robin competition. Eight teams emerged as finalists and competed against each other in the afternoon single-elimination session. In addition to The Westminster Schools, all other teams earned medals and awards. Those teams included: • Second Place — Chamblee Middle School (DeKalb County School District) • Third Place — South Forsyth Middle School (Forsyth County Schools) • Fourth Place — Riverwatch Middle School (Forsyth County Schools) • Fifth Place — North Gwinnett Middle School (Gwinnett County Public Schools) • Sixth Place — The Paideia School (an independent school in DeKalb County) 22 | PAGE One

• Seventh Place — Perry Middle School (Houston County Schools) • Eighth Place — David T. Howard Middle School (Atlanta Public Schools). Bouncing back from last school year’s all-virtual competition and awards ceremony, 19 of the invited 24 teams braved threatening weather to attend. During the competition, middle school students fielded questions in subjects such as history, mathematics, science, literature, and the performing arts. Opposing teams competed against the clock to answer toss-up and bonus questions to score points. “It takes skill and cooperation to create a successful academic bowl team, and all students who participated in the state championship competition should be proud of that accomplishment,” said PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper. “We understand the months of study and hard work exhibited by these students and their coaches, and we applaud them.” For program information and complete winners’ list, visit

Spring 2022

Elite Scholars Academy Captures Second State Win at GAD Competition


Elite Scholars Academy — 2022 Georgia Academic Decathlon State Champions.

layton County Public Schools’ Elite Scholars Academy garnered top honors and the Howard Stroud Championship Trophy for the second year in a row at the PAGE Georgia Academic Decathlon (GAD) State Championship at Parkview High School held Feb. 2526. GAD, which opens the door to academic achievement for all students, focuses on the importance of developing well-rounded individuals. Elite Scholars Academy, coached by C. Jack Smith, is a Division II participant, and was the Georgia representative to the annual United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) National Competition, held virtually April 20-23. Model High School (Floyd County Schools) attended USAD’s virtual nationals as a Georgia representative in the National Division IV competition. To qualify, Model was the next highest-scoring team in a division other than the state champion’s division. The team, coached by Sarah Syverson, captured Rookie of the Year honors at this year’s state competition. With a hybrid schedule this year, only 16 teams participated in the in-person portion. The theme for 2022 was “Water: A Most Essential Resource.” Over 150 students competed in 10 events. Following are the competition results. Spring 2022

Division I (large school): • Champion & USAD Medium School Online Representative: Columbus High School (Muscogee County School District) • First Runner-up & USAD Large School Online Representative: Villa Rica High School (Carroll County Schools) • Second Runner-up: WH Shaw High School (Muscogee County School District) Division II (small school): • Champion: Elite Scholars Academy • First Runner-up: Model High School • Second Runner-up & USAD Small School Online Representative: Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School (Richmond County School System) “PAGE is incredibly proud of all the students and coaches who participate in Georgia Academic Decathlon,” said PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper. “Even with a hybrid schedule this year, the enthusiasm shown is an excellent example of what makes this annual event such an incredible success. Congratulations to all!” For program information and complete winners’ list, visit n PAGE One | 23

Protection AdvocAcy Growth economy

We’ve Got You Covered.


• $1 million liability coverage

• $10,000 coverage policy for legal defense of employment, criminal, and ethics cases with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission • All coverage is “win or lose” with no reimbursements, deductibles, or up-front costs • Direct access to one-on-one, privileged, and confidential guidance from an expert legal team with more than 75 years combined educator-specific experience • Interactive Code of Ethics presentations, FAQs, and informative resources. • See page 56 for this month’s legal column


• Your voice at the Capitol — and with policymakers at the local, state, and national level • PAGE engages lawmakers on a variety of issues that affect educators and students throughout the year and especially during each session of the Georgia General Assembly. • Advocacy focus areas include salary increases and pay supplements, school funding, teacher evaluation, assessment and accountability, the Teachers Retirement System, and preventing the expansion of private school vouchers • Turn to page 12 for details of PAGE advocacy during the 2022 legislative session


• Growth-focused professional learning opportunities throughout the state. Learn more on page 37 • Grants to support your classroom and Growth as a Georgia educator. PAGE Educator Grants have assisted more than 500 members to date. Turn to page 10 to see how a few 2022 winners are utilizing grant funding • Scholarships to support your continuing education and career goals. More than $580,000 awarded since program inception. Up to $27,000 will awarded this calendar year. Visit scholarships/ for details • Teacher and student recognition programs and academic competitions: STAR, Academic Decathlon, and more. Turn to pages 10-23 for more on this year’s events • Future Georgia Educators initiatives support Georgia’s teacher pipeline. Learn more on pages 16-18 •

PAGE One magazine, annual New Teacher Guide, educator resource materials, and more to keep you informed

ECONOMY • More benefits than any other Georgia educator association • Your best value: — Less than $15 monthly for certified personnel — Less than $8 monthly for support staff • Dues support you — not political action committees; local, state, or national candidates; national organizations; or non-education issues • Dues stay in Georgia to work for you • See pages 42-50 to learn more about membership services. And turn to page 59 to locate contact information for the PAGE representative in your area PAGE is the nation’s largest independent educator association — with members serving in every Georgia school district — and the best option for your professional future. Membership is available to all Georgia educators and school employees as well as college and high school students enrolled in education courses. Learn more at

Y E V M A T H A TS E H W EN T M D H U G ST TAU state what insights and wisdom they have learned from their students over the years Exceptional educators transcend lesson and how these lessons have positively plans and textbooks. They listen, build impacted their lives, classrooms, and trust, nurture relationships and, above all, overall approach to teaching. they care about their students. We asked: “In all your years of teaching, These teachers all have something else what have your students taught you?” in common: they never stop learning. In the pages that follow, you’ll hear from They learn from many sources — life experience, family, friends, mentors, seven Georgia educators as they speak peers, professional development and, of about what they’ve learned — including the importance of empathy, building course, their students. relationships, and how they know their We asked educators at all different stages words matter even years after a student of their careers and from throughout the has left their classroom. By Scotty Brewington

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Spring 2022



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ols ool o h Sc Sch s y t y oun ntar l Level C son Eleme n, Al w Da iew tio a c v er du Riv cial E Spe

For Carson Johnson, 18 years of teaching has taught her that the hardest years in the classroom — and the hardest students to reach — are almost always the most rewarding. “If I had to sum up what all of my years of teaching have taught me, it would be to always teach the student first,” said Johnson. “You’re not just teaching the curriculum — you are teaching individuals and investing in children’s lives.” Johnson, who has spent her career working with special education students in kindergarten through fifth grades, initially chose special education because of the challenges that come with teaching young children with unique learning needs. She now says she can’t imagine doing anything else. “It is hard every day, but I have also learned so much about myself through teaching students with different needs and abilities,” said Johnson. “For me, it’s a challenge both personally and professionally because my own daughter is being served by special education. I go in every day with the goal of teaching my students the way I would teach my own daughter, and how I want her teachers to teach and approach her every day.”

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For Johnson, her students have also taught her empathy. Beyond having compassion for students with learning differences, Johnson tries to see things from her students’ perspectives. It is this deep sense of empathy that ultimately enables her to connect with students and help them become successful. “I didn’t have that connection with my students until I started to understand what it must feel like to be them — to have an extreme disability in math, for example, and what it must feel like to wake up each morning and come to school with your peers, knowing that you have to face this every single day,” said Johnson. “It’s more than just having compassion. I try to imagine what it must feel like and then put myself in that perspective on a daily basis.” Johnson, who was named the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year for both Riverview Elementary School and Dawson County Schools, incorporates that sense of empathy into her classroom and is always looking for teachable moments to show her students what it means to be empathetic. For Johnson, the ultimate reward is knowing that her students will leave her classroom understanding

Spring 2022


love , e m o ort. s p p r su "Fo like s k like loo s k o lo nt. Love rageme u enco oks like nd, lo ea Love veranc e ying pers it is cr t n, y bu a w ofte e I am g th t n o a l a th on ing m e w o h t kn with ” e r e ey. th n r u o the j

how much she cares about them. She said she wants all her students to know that even though she pushes them in class, it is because she wants them to succeed. Beyond teaching academic subjects in the classroom, Johnson strives to model what empathy and love can look like outside it. That starts with her motto, which hangs on her classroom wall: You can do hard things. “I had a student say to me once, ‘I can’t do hard things. I can only do normal things.’ I thought, normal things for him are hard things,” said Johnson. “I push them, but I want them to know that I love them. For some, love looks like support. Love looks like encouragement. Love looks like perseverance and, often, it is crying along the way but knowing that I am there with them on the journey.”

Spring 2022

Dawson Coun ty's Carson Johnson works with her students to le arn hard thin gs.

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y t n u o C y l Ear chools S



ty n u Co ool y l Ear h Sch Hig cience S cher Tea

Chris Peace has been a teacher for 10 years — all of them in Blakely, Georgia, near the Alabama line. In a small town like Blakely, everyone knows everyone, and teachers and students frequently run into each other outside the classroom. Peace knows his community well. He grew up here and even graduated from the same high school where he now teaches chemistry, physics, forensic science, and robotics, and coaches eSports, the emerging sport of competitive video gaming. This hometown dynamic creates even more pressure to lead by example, Peace said. “I live in a small town where everyone sees you every day. When I go to the grocery store, the person checking me out in line might be a student, a former student or the brother or sister of a student,” said Peace. “You always have to be a positive role model because if

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“I try to attend m y student s’ activi ties ... Stude nts will ask me why I go and I say, ‘I we nt to see you b ecause I wanted to support you.’”

kids see adults not behaving, why would they behave?” Peace said that teaching has not only taught him the importance of being a servant leader, but also the impact it can have when you take a personal interest in your students and show them that you care about them as individuals. “You have to get to know all of your students and really understand where they are coming from. It’s important to be seen as an active member of the community,” said Peace. “I try to attend my students’ activities — and not just football games. I have gone to dance recitals, band concerts, even activities at one of the churches here. Students will ask me why I go and I say, ‘I went to see you because I wanted to support you.’” Peace entered teaching as a second career but said if he could do it all over again, he

Spring 2022

Chris Peace, a scie nce teacher in Early Co unty, says knowing his students is key to success.

would have become a teacher 10 years earlier. The most rewarding part, he said, is seeing his students graduate and achieve things on their own after high school. “We always talk about the ‘aha moments’ when students really ‘get’ something in class and that is rewarding, but it’s also great to see them later as they go off to college or into a profession and they remember when you taught them and what a positive influence you were on them,” said Peace. Peace credits his students with teaching him how to be a better teacher. “My math teacher would work a problem on the board and a few problems later, I had it. But I learned that other people aren’t that way,” said Peace. “My first year teaching, I had to stop and reevaluate what I was doing and how I was teaching. I realized that I was explaining things the way that I would understand them, but I had to explain them in a way that others could get it, too. My students showed me how to teach different ways and for different learning styles.” Peace hopes that all his students learn one thing from him: that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Spring 2022

“It doesn’t matter where you came from or what kind of homelife you had. If you want to — and you put the work into it — you should be able to achieve anything,” Peace said. “One of my students just got into Harvard and is going to be a surgeon. She is one of the first in our county to go to Harvard. I taught her, but she got there because of her. I tell my students — my class is going to be hard, but I am just trying to get you ready for school so that when you get to college and sit down in that chemistry class, you will have at least a few weeks where you know what you are doing and won’t feel like you are already underwater.”


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Jennifer Bowers

Houston County Schools Houston County High School French Teacher, Foreign Language Department Chair

Jennifer Bowers remembers a day years ago when she ran into a former student whom she had not seen since graduation. Just after saying hello, the student turned to her mom and said, “Mrs. Bowers said I was a great writer.” Though she had forgotten that particular compliment, Bowers said she realized in that moment how much her words matter. “I loved that her memory of me was something positive. It was the first thing she remembered when she saw me,” said Bowers. “As teachers, we have so much influence over our students. When we say something, they will remember it — and if they remember a compliment, they will remember the hurtful words, too. They have taught me how much our words matter — not just as teachers, but as human beings. People remember what you say to them. It is important that we are kind and use our words to be supportive and to help them be the best they can be.” Bowers said that meeting with her former student impacts how she relates to her students today. “It made me think of how I relate to all of my students,” she said. “Every student is good at something. As teachers, it is our job to help them find out what that is.” Bowers said she tries to make her classroom a supportive environment where she speaks to students with kindness and everyone encourages one another. “If you notice something great about somebody, let them know. As a teacher, when you do that, you are investing in students so that when you do have to say, ‘I notice you didn’t do this assignment or this needs to be improved,’ they will know it came from a place of caring. You have invested in them and they know that you care about them.”

Jennifer Bow ers works to notice somet hing great in her students at Houston County High School.

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Spring 2022


TracEy BroadnaX

Atlanta Public Schools Crawford Long Middle School Science Teacher, 7th Grade

Tracey Broadnax has been a teacher for just three years, but she has already learned a lot from her students. “I never realized as a teacher how many hats I had to wear,” said Broadnax. “I grew up in Alpharetta and am now teaching on the southside of Atlanta. Students here have a lot of challenges that I didn’t experience. You have to be a teacher, but, sometimes, you also have to be a counselor and even a parent.” As a new teacher, Broadnax also learned the importance of being authentic. “When I first started teaching, teachers would say to me, ‘you have to put on a stern face so they understand the tone early on.’ But that’s not me,” said Broadnax. “For me, being young and not that far removed from school myself, I speak to them in a way that makes them feel valued and

Spring 2022

Trac e to re y Broad na main Craw auth x strives f o enti r dL class room ong Mi c in her ddle . Scho


respected. I still keep it professional, but being one of the younger teachers at the school, they respond to that and it helps me build stronger relationships with them and their parents.” By listening to her students and making them feel valued and heard, she is able to earn their trust in the classroom. It’s a lesson she has learned from her own experiences as a young teacher. “At my first school, people would sometimes talk down to me because of my age, not really understanding what I was trying to do or realizing the impact I could have in my classroom. I was at such an early time in my career,” said Broadnax. “I really love my school here. I feel valued and I feel like my opinion matters. I want my students to know they should just stay focused. Don’t let what people tell you about yourself stop you from achieving your goals.”

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Kim z e d n a Fern Schools Dublin City y d Academ Irish Gifte e Teacher First Grad

Dublin Cit grade te y Schools first acher K im Fern is a big andez believe r in buil relation ding ships.

Students have taught Kim Fernandez many lessons throughout her teaching career. “Building relationships is the single most important thing I do with my kids,” she said. “They have taught me that I need to do the things I expect of them — listen with undivided attention, make eye contact, and acknowledge their presence. I greet them at the door and make them feel special and important.” To be an effective teacher, said Fernandez, you also have to be a good listener. “Sometimes, when students bring up something, these are the most important life lessons that can be taught in class.” Often, students understand more about life than we might realize, she said. A decade ago, while undergoing cancer treatment, Fernandez said she went through a tough time. After being out for several weeks, she returned to the classroom. “That first day back, a student said, ‘Mrs. Fernandez, are you wearing a wig?’ At first, I was guarded about looking

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different,” she said, “but the kids started laughing and said they liked my wig. They taught me to embrace what I was going through and just have fun with it.” Another lesson she has learned from her students is to be real. “That goes a long way to building trust,” she said. “Then, when you make a mistake, they understand, and they know it’s okay when they make a mistake.” Ultimately, Fernandez says she hopes her students know she cares about them. She remembers one fourth grade student she taught years ago. She and the school counselor took him trick-or-treating so he would have a chance to go. “I want my students to know they matter and that I care,” Fernandez said. “If my students can walk into my classroom and feel that they are loved and safe, then I can teach them.”


"Sometim es, when student s b ring up somethin g, these are the most importa nt life less ons that can b e taugh t in clas s."

Spring 2022

Debb ie Partrick

blic Schools Gwinnett County Pu hool Trip Elementary Sc STEM Specialist



Debbie Partrick’s students have taught her countless lessons over the past 27 years in the classroom, but one that stands out is the importance of praise. She remembers one group of students in particular who were living in a motel with their mom and acting out in class. A little praise turned everything around. “We all want affirmation in one form or another and so do our students,” said Partrick. “This requires so little effort. Just one statement like, ‘Wow, I never thought of that idea’ or ‘I love that observation’ can completely change a student’s attitude and effort.” Another lesson? Relationships matter. Partrick remembers one of her first experiences teaching middle school with a particularly tough student who was struggling academically and being disruptive in class. “I went to his football game and the next day, I told him how great he played. His whole attitude turned on a dime,” she said. “I never had any discipline problems from him again and he ended the course with an A! You have to let kids know you care about them even outside of school.” Partrick said another thing her students have taught her over the years is that all kids are curious and all want to learn — and learning in a fun, hands-on way is best. “I want students to truly have a love for learning. Education is so important. I firmly Spring 2022

Debb ie Eleme Partrick of Tr n Count tary Schoo ip l in Gw y cele brates in curios stude nett ity. nt

believe that,” said Partrick. “I was a free lunch kid. We didn’t have much money at all, but the thing that made me successful was that I loved learning. Education is what will carry you forward. No matter where students come from or how much money they have — if they have a love of learning, they will be successful. I want them to continue their education no matter what.” PAGE One | 35

Valery Dinkins Columbia County School District Martinez Elementary School STEM Coordinator

In her 25 years as an educator, Valery Dinkins said she has learned the importance of being flexible. “You have to be open to change. There is not just one way to do things. You have to have an open mind and see that big picture,” said Dinkins. “Don’t just say — this is the way we have always done it. Find ways to make things better.” Another lesson she has learned is that what you do now for students will stay with them. Though you may not think that what you are doing in class today will have a lasting impact on your students, they will remember. “When I taught middle school, we had a 'coffee house' poetry event at the end of the unit. Years later, I ran into a student who continues to write — and did throughout high school and college —who thanked me for doing those kinds of activities,” she said. Building relationships with students is also critically important, said Dinkins. “When you start teaching early on, you may not see the importance of those relationships right away, but it is those relationships that show students you are listening and that you care about them,” she said. Setting goals for students and giving them a voice in their learning can also be very impactful, Dinkins said. Students should have a say in their learning so that they have buy-in. You always want to set high expectations for students. Sometimes they exceed that and go further. Other times, you want them to reach their goals — and they can do that with support, she said.

Val Ele ery Di m a st enta nkins coo uden ry wo of Ma rt rdi t. Sh rks nat w inez or f e is ST ith or h EM er S cho ol.


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“I want all of my students to know that it is okay to take risks in their learning – either in problem-solving or creativity,” said Dinkins. “Be courageous enough to take those risks. You’ll never know unless you try.”

Spring 2022

Student Engagement and Individualized Learning:


By David Reynolds and Ramona Mills

There are special instructional moments when traditional dynamics shift and the student becomes the teacher. And, in these exceptional moments, both student and teacher grow exponentially. Is it possible to capture the essence of this transformation and embed it into professional development for educators? Yes - and PAGE professional learning has done so, through a system built upon student engagement and individualized learning. It works - and it works well.

"This course has opened my eyes to see how student engagement influences learning." "It definitely made a difference in my professional life. It helped me take a step back … and consider the student’s experience in my lessons." "This workshop has empowered me. Now, I reflect differently." Spring 2022

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“Being an educator is more than teaching standards, it’s about building relationships with students and leading from the heart. The success of our students is directly linked to how they feel about their learning, their teachers, and their school environment.

Feedback shared by participants from recent PAGE professional learning sessions led by Angela Garrett, Bill McCown, and Connie Stovall highlights multiple instances where thinking about teaching and learning heads in a new direction. “This course has opened my eyes to see how student engagement influences learning.” - Michael Thompson, Teacher, Pope High School, Cobb County “It definitely made a difference in my professional life. It helped me take a step back…and consider the student’s experience in my lessons. It also helped me think about how to make my lessons more relevant and engaging for them.” - Dr. Brian Hibbs, Professor, Dalton State College “This workshop has empowered me. Now, I reflect differently. Do it! It will help you define your role as a leader.” - Jessie Draper, Assistant Principal, Anna White Carson Middle School, Greene County PAGE professional learning staff members have had the privilege of interacting with thousands of educators - hundreds in just the past few years. From these opportunities, some significant concepts have repeatedly surfaced, and these themes have been confirmed by PAGE research:

- Carol Mainor, Teacher, Metter Middle School, Candler County

Teachers who immerse themselves in the study of student engagement and individualized learning have found that the climate and culture in a school and classroom significantly impact student outcomes. Viewing schoolwork and experiences from a student’s perspective is the best way to gauge learner interest, and spending time listening to students is the best way to understand their perspectives. The recurring strand that connects these facets of engagement is relationship-building. Kindness, patience, inclusivity, and compassion - when aligned with appropriately challenging work around content standards - combine to set the stage for a rich learning environment that promotes student success.

The overarching theme of trust has also emerged in PAGE research. Intersecting with other factors that feed into a robust learning environment, trust reminds us again of the individual nature of meaningful learning. Virtually all change occurs one person at a time, one interaction at a time, one conversation at a time. These incremental changes build on one another and, over time, new habits and processes are formed and then those are altered, based on new thinking, and on new conversations with new friends and colleagues. In our daily lives as educators, we move through many seasons, and each iteration of our work contributes to steady progress, individually and collectively. That’s part of what makes this work fulfilling - the non-stop learning. We lead students through phases of growth. And - when the focus is on student engagement and individualized instruction students lead us through the same.

Journaling is one of the many techniques PAGE Professional Learning encourages at sessions like this one at Exceptional Assistant Principal. Photo by Dolly Purvis

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Spring 2022

Breakout groups and other activities provide ample time for interaction at PAGE Professional Learning sessions. Photo by Dolly Purvis

Educators are skilled at describing the power and benefit of this approach. Here’s what a few PAGE PL participants have shared with us about how they have incorporated core principles of that learning into their daily interaction with students. “Being an educator is more than teaching standards, it’s about building relationships with students and leading from the heart. The success of our students is directly linked to how they feel about their learning, their teachers, and their school environment. As an educator, I want to know and understand my students, their interests, fears, strengths, and family life. This builds trust and confidence that gives students the courage to give their all and to exceed beyond their own expectations.” - Carol Mainor, Teacher, Metter Middle School, Candler County “For the kids that are afraid, I’ll tell them, ‘Look, I have enough confidence for both of us. You can live off mine until we grow yours.’ Eventually they grow theirs, and they do marvelously. They really do. One of the biggest disservices we do to students, or to anybody, is to not have high enough expectations, to let someone off too easily. You want them to hit a wall. You want them to hit something that’s hard. You want to be there to support them through that and help them overcome the challenges they have so the next time they run into something hard, instead of shying away from it, they can say, ‘You know what, I’ve already done that. I’ve already done something hard. I can do this. These are the steps that I do. These are the steps I take. And then move forward.’” - Christina Long, Teacher, Cartersville High School, Cartersville City Schools Spring 2022

JOIN US! PAGE PL is Free & Always Evolving to Meet Your Needs There’s no cost to register, and all resources are provided. We hope you’ll join us. Visit and choose the Professional Learning tab to explore present offerings. Course offerings will continue to evolve in response to participant feedback and student need. As we design new opportunities, the core concepts of engagement, relationship building, individualized learning, and equity in education will always be our focus. In addition to in-person sessions, online courses are also on the horizon. Hybrid experiences, blending both virtual and in-person sessions, may also be developed. We invite you to visit the website often for the latest course offerings and locations. We’ll also send occasional emails to announce new opportunities. Should you have questions or need additional information, send an email to or call 770-216-8555 and ask to speak with PAGE professional learning staff. We look forward to seeing you soon. PAGE One | 39

Bill McCown of PAGE Professional Learning enlists help from Dr. Marc Feuerbach, Superintendent of Cartersville City Schools, to illustrate an important point. Photo by Dolly Purvis

“Relationships matter. We must take the time to get to know our family. Our students, staff, and parents are family members, and we must take the time to get to know all of them.” - Dr. Chad Stone, Principal, Tift County High School Getting to know those you serve is the best way to engender trust, which is a cornerstone for learning. Learning leads to progress, and consistent forward motion equates with success - as student and as teacher. When decisions are made for the benefit of the learner, everyone wins. Capitalizing on what we have in common can allow us to flourish. It’s also true that taking advantage of our differences can exponentially expand the potential for greatness - great learning, meaningful relationships, legitimate empathy, and deep understanding. Getting to know every student, and creating experiences that align with their interests, preferences, and needs, is not only the most effective way to generate and maintain curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm for learning, it’s also the only true avenue to address real disparities where they appear. Knowing our students and seeking to understand 40 | PAGE One

their thinking and experiences creates a more equitable learning environment. Professional learning that matters underscores this fact and equips participants with the knowledge, skills, and connections that reinforce the importance of leadership that ensures that every learner, regardless of challenges, receives a quality education that prepares them for success. One final word - again from Christina Long - sums up what great teachers do. “I realized my passion is to get people to do things that they’ve never done before. That’s my thing … to teach them how to do something that they never thought they could do.” The best professional learning does the same thing. It creates connections - with information, ideas, and people - to help every educator pursue and fulfill their teaching passion. This, in turn, helps every student clarify and realize his or her dreams. As an educator, you play a huge part in making this happen. You learn and you lead because you teach. Keep contributing to this noble profession and serving as a catalyst for change. You are making a difference. Lead the learning. Impact the profession. n Spring 2022

Garrett to Retire as PAGE Director of Professional Learning By Dolly Purvis After dedicating 45 years to K-12 education, Angela Garrett, PAGE Director of Professional Learning, has decided to retire. For 21 years, she worked as a speech pathologist before becoming an assistant principal and principal for another 13 years. She has worked at PAGE for nine years. “I have loved all the jobs I’ve had.” Garrett said, “I’m happy and satisfied with the work I’ve done. PAGE takes good care of its employees, and I’m glad to leave Professional Learning on solid footing.” Garrett added that much of her satisfaction with her work at PAGE is related to leading the effort to transform how PAGE PL programs are designed and delivered. Among the programs Garrett and her team developed are Transformational Principal Institute (TPI), Exceptional Assistant Principal (EAP), PAGE Engage! Induction, and a recently added partnership with Shorter University. “We want the teachers and administrators to take more time getting to know their students and understanding how they enjoy learning,” Garrett said. “Relationships are the foundation for creating a place students want to be, and where they will thrive. That’s what changes school and classroom cultures- getting to know the students and people you work with, and creating a great work environment. “PAGE TPI gives principals what they need to transform the cultures of their schools,” Garrett noted. “We added PAGE EAP because there are so many ways assistant principals can change the lives of students and parents,” she continued. “Engage! Induction and working with Shorter University are also very important because new teachers need help,” Garrett added. “We help them with lessons and curriculum and encourage them to think about all the kids in the classroom and how to give everybody the opportunity to learn the way they learn.” In order to continually refine program content and delivery to maximize relevance and impact, Garrett and her

PAGE Director of Professional Learning Angela Garrett presents at a recent event for principals. Photo by Dolly Purvis

team encourage participants to offer specific thoughts on their experience with PAGE PL with questions like “What was your ‘a-ha’ moment?” This feedback enables PAGE PL to ensure sustained excellence across all programs and platforms. Garrett’s immediate plans after PAGE are to spend time with her three grandchildren and to travel. n

Innovation and flexibility will continue to characterize PAGE PL and Impact Project work moving forward. Paralleling the effort to emphasize a more customized PL participant experience, David Reynolds and PAGE colleague Marta Walker are developing pilot online learning experiences, reviewing resources to support early career educators, and examining other teacher pipeline and appreciation ideas. Spring 2022

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PAGE Membership Services Celebrates the Past, Greets the Future By Dolly Purvis Jimmy Jordan, Dale Gillespie, and Nancy Ratcliffe are retiring, and as they bid a fond farewell with more than a century of collective service to education, they took a moment to reflect on their time at PAGE. And when they spoke with PAGE One, each of them — in slightly different ways — recalled with pride their efforts at PAGE to serve the members they represent and to enhance teacher recruitment and retention in Georgia. PAGE One also spoke with those who will carry on the work: • B.J. Jenkins has assumed the role of Director of Membership after 24 years as Membership Services Representative for District 6. • Dr. Bob Heaberlin follows Jenkins in District 6 • Hayley Gilreath steps in for Ratcliffe in District 7 • Joy Robinson will follow Gillespie in District 8

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Spring 2022

“To quote Barbara Mandrell, PAGE was teacher pipeline before teacher pipeline was cool. We were the first to jump on the teacher shortage and helped bring it into focus for a lot of people.”

Director of Membership Jimmy Jordan Retires With a six-foot-two stature, a sonorous bass voice, and an eager-to-engage personality, it’s hard to miss Jimmy Jordan when he enters a room. He’s missed, however, when he leaves, which was the case when PAGE bid him farewell as he retired earlier this year.

For 13 years, Jordan was Membership Services Representative for the district that includes his beloved Jasper County, and for eight years, he was Director of Membership.

Those two decades saw tremendous growth at PAGE, which nearly doubled in size. But asked to identify what brings him the most pride from his time at PAGE, he needs just two words: Teacher pipeline. “To quote Barbara Mandrell, PAGE was teacher pipeline before teacher pipeline was cool,” said Jordan with his trademark humor. “We were the first to jump on the teacher shortage and helped bring it into focus for a lot of people.” PAGE had meetings with the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), the Governor’s office, and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), and in concert with the strategies policymakers established to reinforce the teacher pipeline, PAGE: Spring 2022

• •

Pioneered sending staff attorneys into college classrooms, new teacher orientations, and schools for Code of Ethics training Fixed its attention on Future Georgia Educators (FGE) for high school students and expanded the popular FGE Days Developed teaching modules for college students to help them prepare for their first year in the classroom and beyond Increased the number of Membership Services Representatives to augment endeavors throughout the state Recruited Membership Services Specialists to form the backbone of the organization’s data component

“We followed (former PAGE Executive Director) Dr. Allene Magill’s philosophy of putting boots on the ground, and the growth followed,” Jordan added. “We give educators the information to succeed in the profession. All the PAGE executive directors I’ve worked with - Barbara Christmas, Dr. Magill, and Craig Harper - have always given the Membership team everything we’ve needed to get the job done.” He now turns his attention full-time to his family (his wife of 52 years, children, and grandchildren), his skidsteer, golf, fishing, and Monticello Presbyterian Church. PAGE One | 43

PAGE Director of Membership Services, B.J. Jenkins, left, meets with PAGE Coordinator of Membership Services Kniki Fanning. Photo by Dolly Purvis.

B.J. Jenkins Named Director of Membership PAGE didn’t need to look far to find the ideal individual, B.J. Jenkins, to replace Jimmy Jordan as Director of Membership. Prior to her promotion to director, Jenkins served 24 years as a Membership Services Representative for the district that includes her Griffin home.

have to understand their environment and find out what their needs are so we can do a better job supporting them.” A deliberative leader who examines her work from every angle, Jenkins said she always asks the same question: “What can I learn?” And once she sets a course of action, she revisits it to fine-tune it and asks her colleagues for their insights about methods that produce positive outcomes.

Growing up in southeast Georgia’s Emanuel County and receiving her degree in English from the University of West Georgia before settling just south of metro Atlanta, Jenkins brings to her new role first-hand knowledge of large swaths of the state. Though certified to teach middle grades, Jenkins chose to work in a child advocacy role before joining PAGE. “The foundation of everything PAGE Membership Services does,” she said, “is to remain relevant so we can support our members - all of whom

are working hard to be relevant to their students. Education is a constantly changing landscape, and because PAGE values these professionals, we

“As a PAGE Membership Services Representative, the question isn’t ‘what have I learned.’ The question is ‘what have I not learned?’ I’ve had to be open to multiple solutions, especially during the pandemic,” Jenkins said. “I also have to be flexible enough to change plans on a dime. I always want to know what I can do differently to be better.”

“The foundation of everything PAGE Membership Services does is to remain relevant so we can support our members — all of whom are working hard to be relevant to their students.”

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“Stay involved and aware of what is going on. Keep up with updates, especially the Capitol Report and PAGE One. PAGE will get you the information you need to make informed decisions.”

Gwen Desselle Retires, Recalls Time at PAGE After 35 years in the classroom and nine years at PAGE, Membership Services Representative Gwen Desselle is retiring.

you the information you need to make informed decisions.”

During her time teaching U.S. history and world history, Desselle worked four years in Valdosta City Schools but moved on to Moultrie, her hometown, where she served for 35 years, including a year as Georgia Teacher of the Year in 2010.

Desselle credits several PAGE leaders who assisted along the way, specifically Dr. Allene Magill, “a super-smart lady who knew every facet of education” as well as Gayle Wooten and Jimmy Jordan “who guided me along the path to becoming an effective Membership Services Represenative.”

“There are a lot of good teachers, and I’ve been here to represent them (as Teacher of the Year and as a PAGE MSR),” Desselle said. “When you are called to teach, you are called to move mountains.”

In retirement, Desselle says she’ll keep on explaining, teaching Sunday School at Evelyn United Methodist Church, her lifetime church home, and watching her new grandchild grow up.

Her aim to represent her colleagues well also fit her role in the classroom. “I’m compelled to explain things; I can’t stop it,” she said. “I think I was able to make a difference by helping people understand the concepts and issues that affect them.”

“It’s a small church, and we only have one Sunday School class. But

I think I can accomplish something there and teaching still satisfies me. I enjoy the studying, the learning, and the fellowship.” Michele Dechman will follow Desselle in District 2 beginning next month. More on Dechman in the next PAGE One.

Desselle says she is proud of her time working as PAGE’s representative in southwest Georgia, and that she leaves the organization with many more friends - friends who made her journey with cancer more bearable with their calls and prayers. “I’m going to miss those people,” she said. And if Desselle could impart one more nugget of wisdom to PAGE members it is, “Stay involved and aware of what is going on. Keep up with updates, especially the Capitol Report and PAGE One. PAGE will get Spring 2022

Gwen Desselle assists an educator at the recent Future Georgia Educators Day at Valdosta State University.

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“We were able to do many good things: getting members involved in our professional learning programs; expanding the network of superintendents, principals, and assistant principals; and providing interested members with legislative information.” Membership Services Representative Nancy Ratcliffe now turns her attention from K-12 education to college students. Here, she’s shown with her adopted grandchildren, the Berry College women’s basketball team. She also works with the mentoring program at her community, matching Berry students with residents who have expertise in their protégé’s field of study. Photo by Sam Ratcliffe.

PAGE MSR Nancy Ratcliffe Retires With 45 Years of Service to K-12 Education in Georgia Education fills a big part of Nancy Ratcliffe’s heart, and students will remain a central focus for her during retirement.

During her retirement, Ratcliffe plans to travel but will stay engaged with education. “I have 45 years of service, and I plan to keep going,” Ratcliffe added.

After 45 years of service in K-12 Education, Nancy Ratcliffe, PAGE Membership Services Representative for District 7, retired this spring.

She is active with her community and its mentoring program for Berry College students. The program matches students with members of the community with experience in their protégé’s degree field.

Ratcliffe joined PAGE after teaching high school English and working in academic intervention and as a graduation coach. She spent nine years in Whitfield County, 24 years in Gordon County, and two years in Calhoun City prior to her tenure with PAGE. Throughout her 10 years with the organization, Ratcliffe was honored to serve District 7 and enjoyed watching PAGE members become more involved. “Educators were ready to see and hear about PAGE,” Ratcliffe said. “We were able to do many good things: getting members involved in our professional 46 | PAGE One

“College students are having a very hard time right now, and we serve as mentors to help them navigate the world we live in,” she said.

learning programs, expanding the network of superintendents, principals, and assistant principals, and providing interested members with legislative information.”

But her engagement with students at Berry College doesn’t end there. The women’s basketball team has adopted Ratcliffe and her husband Sam as their team grandparents. “Sometimes, they just need a place to be” Ratcliffe said. “They do a lot of inline skating here, and, often, they just need to come by and pet the cat.” Spring 2022

Dale Gillespie Retires as District 8 MSR, Looks Back on Expansion of PAGE College Programs Teaching elementary school was not PAGE Membership Services Representative Dale Gillespie’s career path at the outset of his professional life, but for nearly 25 years (more than a decade with PAGE) education has been the center of his work life. Next month, however, Gillespie’s center of gravity will shift again. This time, toward retirement.

training with staff attorneys to the state’s colleges of education. “I wanted to share with them what I wish I had known to help me through my first three years in the classroom,” Gillespie said. “The birth of the (PAGE) college program really started the teacher pipeline conversation. Previously, the conversations had been top-down, but teacher pipeline is everybody.”

Gillespie chose education as a second career after his life circumstances were altered forever with the passing of his wife. With a young son to raise, Gillespie shuttered his dental supplies business, joined the Lowndes County Schools as a long-term substitute teacher, and — upon completion of the necessary coursework — entered the classroom as an elementary educator, specializing in history. “I was raising my son (as a single father) but had always wanted to go into the classroom,” Gillespie said. “It was a good fit for me personally and as a father because teaching allowed my schedule to fit better around his schedule.”

Gillespie revels in how much the college program has grown, noting that “we started with a couple of events a year, and now PAGE hosts them at colleges and universities all over Georgia.”

staff members, developed the Teaching 411 and Career Launch modules still used widely throughout the state. PAGE also provides Code of Ethics

In fact, during the 2021-2022 academic year, PAGE has hosted dozens of events for college students, including both in-person and virtual Career Launch, Teaching 411, and Code of Ethics sessions.

When he left his Lowndes County classroom, Gillespie joined PAGE and expanded his focus to 26 counties spread over 13,000 square miles, extending from I-16 to Valdosta. With thousands of miles on the road in mainly rural counties, Gillespie witnessed the severity of the teacher shortage in Georgia and looked for ways he could contribute to helping solve the problem. When tiered certification came to Georgia, he added college students to his focus and with several other PAGE

Membership Services Representative Dale Gillespie, right, speaks with a student at a Future Georgia Educators event.

“I wanted to share with them what I wish I had known to help me through my first three years in the classroom. The birth of the college program really started the teacher pipeline conversation ... teacher pipeline is everybody.” Spring 2022

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“PAGE will give me the opportunity to go to different schools in the district and provide support to our educators. I’ve had a good career, and it’s time for me to give back. PAGE is the best place to do that.”

Dr. Robert (Bob) Heaberlin Signs on as PAGE District 6 Membership Services Representative Dr. Robert (Bob) Heaberlin, the new District 6 Membership Services Representative, has long been associated with achievement in education throughout west Georgia and beyond.

No Child Left Behind Task Force in Washington, D.C., as Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Middle School Principals, and coached teams to five state championships in track and field.

With a lengthy and distinguished C.V., Heaberlin says his work as a Membership Services Representative at PAGE is a logical step along his career path.

Currently, Heaberlin volunteers with the executive board of the NewnanCoweta Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors of the two Boys and Girls Clubs in Coweta County, and is a member of the Newnan Kiwanis Club. His wife, Heather, is a physician, and his son, Lee, followed his father’s footsteps and is now an assistant principal at East Coweta High School.

“PAGE will give me the opportunity to go to different schools in the district and provide support to our educators,” Heaberlin, a member since he arrived in Georgia in 1984, noted. “I’ve had a good career, and it’s time for me to give back. PAGE is the best place to do that.” During Heaberlin’s 41 years as a K-12 educator, he taught history and English and coached football and track and field at schools in Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, and Georgia. He was assistant headmaster and headmaster at Flint River Academy in Meriwether County; assistant principal at East Coweta Middle School and Newnan High School; and principal at Newnan Crossing Elementary School, East Coweta Middle School, Winston Dowdell Academy (the Coweta County alternative school), Temple High School (Carroll County Schools) and Lee Middle School in Coweta County. He’s been named the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders’ 48 | PAGE One

(GAEL) Educator of the Year for middle school, the Association of Middle Level Education’s National Educator of the Year, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals National Distinguished Middle School Principal of the Year, among other honors. After accumulating his four decades of experience, Heaberlin then moved on to higher education for nine years as an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of West Georgia (UWG) and, eventually, the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Director of the UWG’s Newnan Center. When not in the classroom, he’s served as GAEL president, on the

The late Congressman John Lewis and Dr. Bob Heaberlin at the 2019 National Association of Elementary School Principals National Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C.

Spring 2022

P.A.G.E. according to Hayley Gilreath P — Peace of Mind: It has always given me peace of mind knowing that PAGE is there should I ever need it. There are a lot of moving parts in education and just knowing that they are the experts when it comes to professional protection is worth every penny. A — Accessibility and Action: PAGE is always right there. As teachers, we belong to a lot of organizations. For most, you pay your dues and then you don’t hear a lot. With PAGE, you do. You’re always informed. G — Good to me: PAGE staff are always the very nicest, genuine people. The professional learning that I have had through PAGE benefited me tremendously in the classroom and then later as a system leader. E — Excitement: PAGE promotes and elevates education in general and excitement about the field.

New in District 7: Hayley Gilreath Joins PAGE as Membership Services Representative A PAGE member throughout her entire teaching career, Gilreath recalls hearing a PAGE representative speak while a student at Berry College. As soon as she began teaching, she knew she wanted to be a PAGE member, for the legal protections, legislative advocacy, and professional learning opportunities.

Upon Nancy Ratcliffe’s retirement, Hayley Gilreath assumed the District 7 role. Representing PAGE, however, is not new for Gilreath, who was her school’s PAGE building contact for more than 15 years and was also her district’s PAGE Member of the Year in 2018. “It’s a full-circle moment,” Gilreath said. “I look forward to being the face of PAGE and being the person that anybody can approach if they have questions and being able to be that support. I’m excited to get to serve my district but also the surrounding areas, to get to meet the people who do the hard work day-in and day-out and to be able to provide them with PAGE services.” Gilreath joined the PAGE staff after retiring from Calhoun City Schools where she served as Director of Exceptional Student Services following roles as a substitute teacher, a paraprofessional, a classroom teacher (both special education and general education), and an academic coach. Spring 2022

“The presence of PAGE has been with me throughout my career,” Gilreath said. “I’ve never had to call PAGE for anything that happened to me, but I’ve always followed the legislative updates, and all PAGE professional development has been stellar. Some of the best professional learning I’ve ever had has come from PAGE. It’s always on the cutting edge of what’s next.” “Special education has always been near and dear to my heart,” Gilreath noted. She taught for more than 15 years in special education settings, including self-contained and resource classes and the inclusion side of general education classrooms.

In addition to her degree from Berry College, Gilreath received her master’s degree in behavior disorder and learning disabilities from the University of West Georgia and her specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. PAGE One | 49

Joy Robinson, pictured here in her classroom, replaces Dale Gillespie as the PAGE representative for District 8. Prior to joining PAGE as a staff member, Robinson taught fifth grade for 15 years. She joined PAGE when she was a student at Valdosta State University. She has served PAGE previously as a building contact and was elected to the Board of Directors two years ago. She says, “I discovered that at PAGE, we really walk it like we talk it.”

Joy Robinson Will Assume District 8 Membership Services Representative Role participating in PAGE professional learning with former executive director Dr. Allene Magill.

Growing up on Long Island in New York, Joy Robinson recalls “incredible memories” of her teachers. “I always wanted to be a teacher,” she continued. “When my big sister went to elementary school, I was devastated because I couldn’t go with her. I would go through her bookbag and teach my stuffed animals from the lessons and assignments I found there.”

“I discovered that at PAGE, we really walk it like we talk it,” Robinson said. She soon became a PAGE building contact and, therefore, an advocate for teachers in her building. She joined the PAGE Board of Directors about two years ago.

“Miss Banks in fourth grade,” Joy said, was the pivotal moment teacher - the first of many. “I knew I was going to model myself after her.” Robinson, who replaces Dale Gillespie as the PAGE representative for District 8, moved to Georgia in 2003. She attended Georgia Military College and then Valdosta State University where she earned her early childhood education degree. Robinson taught third through fifth grade for 15 years. She will join PAGE in June.

She discovered PAGE in 2005 as a Valdosta State student and became a student member. She later became more involved with the organization while working in Lowndes County and

“I find it so rewarding and fulfilling to serve,” Robinson added. “For the first 15 years, I have served children. Now, I will be serving the educators who serve those children. I want teachers to be better equipped with knowledge and power. And PAGE is excellent for that. PAGE listens to the needs of members - and then designs professional development to speak to those needs. This, along with their dedicated legal and legislative efforts, is different and special. I mean, this IS GOOD.”

“I find it so rewarding and fulfilling to serve. For the first 15 years, I have served children. Now, I will be serving the educators who serve those children. I want teachers to be better equipped with knowledge and power. And PAGE is excellent for that.“ 50 | PAGE One

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Celebrates Georgia Educators

PAGE celebrates Georgia educators year-round. Take a look at this year’s appreciation video from PAGE staff. We are thankful for all you do.

Spring 2022

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Head of the Class 2023 Teacher of the Year & Finalists

Congratulations to PAGE member Michael Kobito, Georgia’s Teacher of the Year for 2023. Like all Georgia educators, Kobito and each program finalist have gone above and beyond this past year. Below, in their own words, these rock-star teachers provide insight into what they love about being an educator and how they would best advocate for Georgia’s students.

2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year “We teach in a world that forces kids to be comparative to the point of detriment, whether it be through social media, online entertainment, or other factors that increase the level of scrutiny for what would usually be considered missteps. Many of the students in our classes are afraid to try because they feel they aren’t as smart or skilled as their peers. In my classroom, from the very start, I reinforce our classroom philosophy: every student’s contribution is important, and every student can learn.” Michael Kobito — Bartow County

“Teaching during quarantine made it clear that the unchanging educational principles of connecting with students; caring about them; believing in them; setting high expectations and goals; and delivering content with excitement, rigor, and clarity are truly the cornerstones educators must pursue. … We must stand on the shoulders of all the great educators who have taught before us and hold to the principles of forming relationships with students; equipping and empowering our students as learners; and making learning experiences memorable, magical, and engaging for all students.”

Chelsea Leming — Cherokee County

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“We must put people first, then everything else will fall into place. Our goal as educators is to do what is best for children, every single day. This cannot happen without developing and nurturing relationships with our students, families, colleagues, administration, and community members. Relationships are the most powerful tool in education.”

Katlyn Blum — Gwinnett County

“Teaching is a mission that requires an innate gift not bestowed upon many, a heart intuitive to the needs of the whole child, a resilience that keeps you moving with the ever-changing world of education, and an armor of both grit and grace to sustain you and others around you. Our mission is to positively impact the trajectory of the lives of children on an individual level so that they too can find their calling.”

Susan Howard — Hall County

“I encourage you to believe in kids more than they could ever believe in themselves. Believe in the infinite possibilities within your classroom. Know that every child in your class has untapped potential and that you can be the person who sets them on a course with destiny. Give children opportunities to try new things. Many of the most talented people in society went on to make influential contributions solely because they were given the chance to try many new things instead of going down just one path.”

Laura Floryance — Marietta City Schools

“I want to develop a desire in each of my students to become lifelong learners and try to accomplish this by showing them all of the learning that can occur outside the walls of [my classroom]. We go to the Columbus Botanical Gardens to learn about vascular plants. We have hopped on pontoon boats to test water quality as well as visited the water treatment plant to see how Columbus provides clean drinking water for its citizens. Leaving the classroom walls behind creates memories that my students will never forget.”

Lisa Seegar — Muscogee County

Spring 2022

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“The new frontier in education includes the reality that students are now looking at avenues other than college to explore after high school, such as technology careers, gaming, and other vocations that may not require a four-year degree. Consequently, how we educate our students must change with this new reality in mind, providing them with the tools they need to navigate this world.”

Vicki Knox — Richmond County

“One of my main goals as a teacher is to continuously connect learning to real life: to help [students] make real-world connections to their learning, to connect them with their community so they become productive citizens, and to give them as many experiences as possible so that their learning is applicable in their everyday lives.”

Ashley Anglin — Rome City Schools

“As educators, we love to tell other people what we teach, whether it is math, science, social studies, English, Spanish, computer science, or even a career field. Sometimes we even like to talk about why we teach. I want to remind teachers that we are so much more than what or why we teach, but we are also who we teach. When I began teaching, I used to tell people that I teach students, not that I teach manufacturing or computer science.”

Jesse Smith — Rockdale County

“I became a teacher because I wanted to inspire students to find their voices, to discover their unique talents and gifts, and to empower students to make a difference in the world around them. I try to help students discover a passion for reading and writing by exposing them to literature that they can relate to.”

Julie Caraballo — Vidalia City Schools

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PAGE Earns Honor For Third Consecutive Year Subscribe to our Podcast! PAGE Talks shares conversations between leaders with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and those who support educators, K-12 education, and learning.

“We take care of one another and our members like family. And, while these past few years have brought enormous challenges, they have also brought great reward – as the PAGE family has supported one another and the exceptional teachers and school staff we serve every day.” — PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper

IS YOUR MEMBER INFORMATION CURRENT? System Transfer If you transferred from a school system where you were on payroll deduction, you’ll need to provide PAGE with this new information in order to avoid expiration of membership. Student Members Your PAGE student membership does not cover you for a paid position in a school – even if your student membership has not expired. Please upgrade your student membership to professional, taking advantage of your first year half-price discount. Accurate Contact Information is Essential Review your contact information, updating if needed, to ensure accuracy. Providing a personal email rather than a work email address is preferred as some school system filters will prevent receipt of messages. Visit or scan the QR code below to confirm or update your information.

Spring 2022

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Paid Parental Leave for Qualifying Educators Are Georgia educators eligible for paid parental leave (PPL)? Many are. Read on to see if you qualify. Last year, a new state law went into effect establishing PPL for full-time state and local board of education employees who meet the defining criteria. Who is eligible? Employees classified as full-time by their local board of education — including but not limited to teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, other professionally certified employees, and noncertified personnel — are eligible for the PPL if they have been employed by the district for at least six continuous months.

Last year, a new state law went into effect establishing paid parental leave for full-time state and local board of education employees who meet the defining criteria.

What is provided? Paid leave for a maximum of 120 hours (which is the equivalent of three regular five-day work weeks) during a 12-month rolling period following a qualifying event. The rolling 12-month period shall be measured backwards from the date the employee first uses PPL. For example, if an educator requests PPL beginning May 15, 2022, the district will look backwards 12 months from that date to see if any of the 120 maximum hours have already been used.

and will vary. It is essential, therefore, to become familiar with details of your district’s policy and apply accordingly. If an employee is eligible for sick leave, can the employer dictate the use of PPL prior to utilization of sick leave?

Is PPL available to both parents?

The employer should accommodate the employee’s preference of order between the use of sick leave and PPL. Therefore, for the birth of a child, the qualifying employee may want to consider using six weeks of sick leave first and then using the three weeks of PPL to provide a total of nine weeks pay. If a mother uses PPL for the first three weeks after a birth, for example, then she will be allowed to use only three weeks of sick leave since her period of physical disability, per physician recommendation, usually ends six weeks after the birth.

The employer must make PPL equally available to all eligible employees.

Must the 120 hours of PPL be used in a continuous block?

What is the process for applying for PPL?

No. The employee can use it as needed, and it can be taken in increments of less than eight hours. Any leave that remains unused more than 12 months after the qualifying event may not be carried over for future use.

What constitutes a qualifying event? • • •

The birth of a child of an eligible employee The placement of a minor child for adoption with an eligible employee The placement of a minor child for foster care with an eligible employee

Each district is required to have a policy in place to address administration of PPL. These policies are locally determined 56 | PAGE One

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Since PPL can be taken at any time during the 12 months after the qualifying event, can it extend the 12 weeks allowed under FMLA? The employer is permitted by policy to require that PPL run concurrently with FMLA. If this is the case, you will want to make sure that you use your PPL before your 12 weeks of FMLA is up. If both parents qualify and also work for the same school district, FMLA is limited to 12 weeks for both of you, so you each need to use your PPL before the end of the 12 weeks. Can an employee take PPL for prenatal appointments? No, PPL is only allowed after a qualifying event as defined above. Spring 2022

How can PAGE help? Should you have additional questions related to PPL or if you’d like PAGE input or assistance with any legal matter, please contact us to speak with a PAGE attorney. Call 770216-8555 (and choose option 1 for the legal department) or send an email to Jill Hay is PAGE general counsel and director of legal services. A graduate of Florida State University College of Law, Jill has a wealth of knowledge and experience in K-12 education law. Jill has served PAGE members since 1994.

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PAGE MSRs and CSRs: Who Are They and How Can They Help? • Wondering who to reach out to when you have questions about your PAGE membership? • Have an issue or concern that you need to bring to PAGE’s attention — but aren’t sure what department or staff member to contact? • Interested in scheduling a Code of Ethics presentation at your school or district office? • Looking for information about a Future Georgia Educators (FGE) program or event? • Need to know the name of your PAGE building contact or how to subscribe to PAGE Capitol Reports? For answers to these questions and more, call or email your PAGE Membership Services Representative (MSR) or College Services Representative (CSR). You’ll find MSR contact information on the map to your right and CSR contact information below. If preferred, send an email to North Georgia

South Georgia

College Services Representatives


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Jo Breedlove-Johnson

Mary Ruth Ray

Spring 2022

Membership Services Representatives Jo Breedlove-Johnson District 3A Hayley Gilreath District 7



Walker Chickamauga City



Habersham White Lumpkin

Gordon Calhoun City

Floyd Rome City




Gwinnett Buford City

APS Fulton

Larrell Lewis-Oliver District 4A

3B Elbert

DeKalb Decatur City


Carroll Carrollton City





Pike Meriwether





Kathy Arena District 10


Warren Morgan

Newton Troup


Walton Social Circle City






Spalding Fayette

Dr. Bob Heaberlin District 6




Haralson Bremen City




Cobb Marietta City




Hall Gainesville City

Jackson Commerce City Jefferson City


Laurie Provost District 3B


Dawson Forsyth

Bartow Cartersville City


Gina Tucker District 4B

Diann Branch District 9


Union Murray

Whitfield Dalton City


Shirley Wright District 5



McDuffie Richmond










Baldwin Monroe



B.J. Jenkins Spalding County



Talbot Taylor








13 Stewart






Wilcox Randolph













Jeff Davis

Ben Hill




Worth Irwim




Baker Mitchell Pelham City







Michele Dechman District 2

Linda Woods District 1








Joey Kirkland District 12








Peach Houston


Peggy Brown District 11




Tift Decatur



Thomas Thomasville City







Laura Clements District 13



Joy Robinson District 8


Lowndes Valdosta City





Visit to access additional details about PAGE membership — including this MSR / CSR map. Spring 2022

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PAGE OFFICERS President Dr. Oatanisha Dawson President-Elect To be filled

Past President Lindsey Martin

Treasurer Lamar Scott

Secretary Dr. Susan Mullins

Ramona Mills Communications Director Executive Editor & Writer

PAGE BOARD OF DIRECTORS District 1 To be filled District 2 Dr. Brecca Pope

District 8 Joy Robinson

District 3 Mary Case

District 9 Jennie Persinger

District 4 Rochelle Lofstrand

District 10 Khrista Henry

District 5 Dr. Shannon Watkins

District 11 Amy Carter

District 6 Melanie Lockett

District 12 TaKera Harris

District 7 Lance James

District 13 Daerzio Harris


LaTria Garnigan

Communications Specialist Graphic Designer & Writer

Dolly Purvis

Communications Specialist Graphic Designer & Writer

Passionate about clear, engaging communications, Ramona is an alumna of UCLA who honed her craft in the film industry before founding a Georgia-based creative agency. An education policy fellow and former district II chair of the Georgia School Public Relations Association, Ramona led DeKalb County School District’s stakeholder engagement initiative – launching an awardwinning magazine and branding campaign. Ramona joined the PAGE Communications team in 2019. An alumna of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, LaTria spent 15 years in print journalism as editor of several weekly newspapers throughout metro Atlanta and a regional monthly lifestyle magazine. She’s covered everything from speeches from a sitting president, former first lady, award-winning authors, and many notable local citizens. She has served PAGE members since 2020. Dolly brings to PAGE experience in the Atlanta news media, in higher education, and at several non-profits. An Agnes Scott College alumna and Leadership DeKalb graduate, she has garnered top awards for writing and photography from Georgia Press Association, Suburban Newspapers of America, Georgia PTA, and others. She is NW Metro Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s photographer in her spare time.

Dr. Sheryl Holmes

To contact the PAGE One Team, email us at

The articles and advertisements published in PAGE One represent the views of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, except where clearly stated.

not deductible. PAGE estimates that seven percent of the nondeductible portion of dues is allocated to lobbying.

To submit a topic for consideration, visit For advertising rates and opportunities, contact Sherry Gasaway of New South Publishing: 678-689-8303 or Contributions/gifts to the PAGE Foundation are deductible as charitable contributions by federal law. Costs for PAGE lobbying on behalf of members are 60 | PAGE One

PAGE One (ISSN 1523-6188) ©copyright 2022 is mailed to all PAGE members, selected higher education units, and other school-related professionals. An annual subscription is included in PAGE membership dues. A subscription for others is $10 annually. Periodicals class nonprofit postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. (USPS 017-347) Postmaster: Send address changes to PAGE One, P.O. Box 942270, Atlanta, GA 31141–2270. PAGE One is published quarterly by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. ©Copyright 2022. Spring 2022

Education leaders choose UNG. For more than 140 years, the University of North Georgia has been developing education leaders who are highly sought after for their skills and experience. Our innovative graduate degrees and endorsement programs help educators advance their education and their careers.

Melissa Silva ‘19 UNG graduate and Fulbright scholar now teaching in Hall County Schools.



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Post-Baccalaureate Initial Teaching Certification Program

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Master of Arts in Teaching Initial Certification Program

Autism Endorsement

Middle Grades Education Secondary Education in English, Mathematics, History, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics P-12 Education in Art, Music, and Physical Education

Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction Master of Education in Middle Grades Mathematics and Science Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

English for Speakers of Other Languages Endorsement Gifted Education Endorsement Reading Endorsement International Baccalaureate Certificate Diversity Certificate

Tier I Educational Leadership Certification Program

Post Master’s Certificate in Transfer Leadership and Practice

Tier II Educational Leadership Educational Specialist Degree Program or Certification-Only Program

Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate

Blue Ridge • Cumming • Dahlonega • Gainesville • Oconee • Online UNG is designated as a State Leadership Institution and as The Military College of Georgia®.

Mercer gave me the foundational skills to approach challenges from a strategic perspective and execute solutions more effectively for student improvement.


Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership ESOL Teacher, Hesse K-8 School Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools


Course credit for Prior Learning

Online classes or a combination of online and on campus

Endorsements embedded within degrees

Advance your career in elementary, middle grades, P-12, or secondary education. M.ED. | ED.S. | PH.D. | ENDORSEMENTS

NO GRE REQUIRED for most programs

FIND YOUR PROGRAM 800.762.5404 Mercer University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Education programs that lead to initial and advanced certification are approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).

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