For Charter Teacher Appreciation Week, we celebrated amazing charter educators who have stepped up and gone above and beyond for their students and communities.
These teachers come from all walks of life—some from the same area codes as the schools they teach in and others from abroad, but they all have one thing in common: The success of the students they teach. And for that, we are proud to applaud and honor our great educators who’ve answered the call by getting the words of parents, admins, and community members together in one place!
Kiara Turner, 5th Grade ELA/SS at Atlanta SMART Academy
Mrs. Turner is loved and adored by her 5th graders. She is energetic, passionate and a joy to be around. She makes learning fun and holds all students to high learning expectations. All of her students have grown in their confidence and competence this school year.
Brandy Humphreys, Social Studies at Atlanta Smart Academy
Ms. Humphreys is an incredible educator! She teaches in a way that is thorough and engaging. Her students are proud to share the history they have learned and make connections to their daily lives. Ms. Humphreys also advocates for the health and wellbeing of students and other staff members. She is a joy to work with.
Additionally, Ms. Humphreys has shifted her entire curriculum online and has learned several new tools to deliver content from anywhere!
Mr. Andrew Hendry, Music at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
Mr. Hendry works so hard to engage his students in the building blocks of music. He incorporates music principles into our design learning curriculum effortlessly! He is also constantly ensuring his students are not only learning, but mentally and emotionally well.
This is our first year at FAST, and we’ve had some short distance learning stints due to quarantine. He works so hard to engage the kids even over Zoom, and I can say that the first graders (including mine) got SO excited when it was time for music with Mr. Hendry, even from home! He found ways to bring the classroom into each child’s house, encouraging students to craft their own makeshift instruments and making it a fun “scavenger hunt” type assignment for them, and then the kids got to present and play their “instruments”. They had such a blast!
Amy Abramson, Special Education Case Manager and Student Council Facilitator at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
She is the difference that is needed in school. She cares for the kids. She has helped my son tremendously. She has always checked on my child to make sure he adapted well. Even held classes to make sure he still received social engagement, something that he struggles with.
Ekeshia Crum, LIFE at Georgia Cyber Academy
Ekeshia went above and beyond in testing students for GAA this year. She took on more than expected and did it with a smile on her face and always said “let me know if you need anything else”. She’s an outstanding educator who created a learning environment that is inviting for our virtual students with special needs.
Ekeshia also went out of her way to ensure that students and parents who were nervous about taking in-person exams were safe and comfortable in any way she could.
Patricia MacNintch, 1st grade at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
My family and I are nominating Ms. Mac because she is a phenomenal teacher! She really extends herself to see her kids prosper. I am sure she is amazing with her entire classroom, but I have seen my son light up when he speaks about his teacher. She takes the time to have one-on-one’s and really cares about his development, and pushing him to be the best version of himself! She is patient, loving, kind and consistent with her efforts in teaching our children. My son struggled with reading and would be so hard on himself anytime reading was involved. With his guidance of Ms. Mac, I have seen so much growth in him—mentally and physically. His confidence is soaring, and he is reading all on his own. When they say teachers truly help you raise your child that is an understatement. I am forever thankful for Ms. Mac and pray she can go with us into 2nd grade—lol!
Megan Henney, teacher at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
She made a big difference for my 1st grade son during COVID on during distance learning—she’s an amazing teacher, and so engaging! Students loved her. Her teaching style was incredible. My son learned a lot from her and was also very happy to come to her zoom meetings.
Ms. Henney is an excellent educator who knows how to make learning for kids fun. I have had the privilege of her teaching 2 of my kids, and she truly teaches the whole child. She doesn’t just care about academic growth, but emotional growth. She truly brings her personal touch to the kids at school.
Ms. Alshabazz, Kindergarten at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
Ms. Alshabazz is a fantastic kindergarten teacher who exceeds all expectations. She loves the kids she works with, keeps parents informed, and cares about their overall wellbeing.
To keep a kindergarten class engaged during a Microsoft Teams session is near impossible. However, Ms. Alshabazz does so in a way that is entertaining and engaging.
Ms. Kelly, Kindergarten at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
If I were to list all the ways Ms. Kelly makes a difference in her student’s lives it would be quite the extensive list! She is always going above and beyond, exceeding all expectations, and doing so with a large smile. Her joy is infectious! She truly is gifted in what she does and my daughter has benefitted tremendously from being in her care.
Katie Edwards, Kindergarten at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
This year, Ms. Edwards not only had the responsibility of teaching a class full of kindergarteners in a pandemic, but she had the added task of keeping my son alive each day. My child is a type 1 diabetic and how Ms. Edwards went out of her way each day to make sure my child was cared for, included, and supported this year was absolutely incredible! We are so grateful for the lengths she’s gone and the extra energy and time she’s invested in my child. It truly means the world to us.
Anna Moshefi, Kindergarten at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology
Ms. Moshefi’s energy is contagious. She is extremely agile and adjusts to each scholar in her classroom. While the pandemic was not as impactful this year, we did have a few home bound days. In spite of this, she was so organized and ready for each student. More importantly, she made the time to help each child navigate through the change. She is also very creative on how she approaches her teaching and incorporates our campus to enhance the learning opportunity.
Teresa Banks, Middle and High School ELA at Southwest Georgia STEM Charter Academy
Teresa is a workhorse teacher. She teaches nonstop every day and is a great leader for our school staff. She pushes her students to get the very best out of them, but does it with such tremendous grace that the students all love and respect her. You can count on her being on time and ready to teach every day. She is also one of the last teachers to leave every day.
Angela Naples, 2nd Grade at Fulton Academy of Science & Technology
Mrs. Naples is an amazing teacher. She works diligently with students that have difficulty while challenging students that are excelling. In addition to teaching the grade 2 curriculum, she is also responsible for the grade 2 TAG English, Science and Math curriculum and teaching.
Mrs. Naples brought her hobby and love of gardening in her spare time into the classroom to educate and visually demonstrate the science curriculum vibrantly through plants and herbs.
In December of last year, Mrs. Naples was the recipient of the FAST PTO teacher grant winner. With the grant funds, both Grade 2 classrooms now have indoor hydroponic gardens. These gardens allow the plants to grow with water and nutrients only. In the application, Ms. Naples wrote, “growing herbs, veggies and other plants indoors is a great way to bring gardening inside the classroom – plus you get to eat the project at the end! I was fascinated with the school’s passion for gardening and the students are really into the hydroponic gardening and were curious to do more.”
Currently students are keeping a science Aero Garden journal of herbs and lettuce’s growth and making notes about their observations as the plants mature. This is a great example of the funds being utilized for STEM education. In addition, the class participates is periodic salad parties from the fruits of their labor!
Mrs. Naples has been exceptionally supportive during the Covid-19 crisis. It is her first year at FAST this year, she was teaching in Italy during the start of the pandemic (beginning of 2020) and witnessed first hand the beginning of the pandemic in an area that was struggling.
To help both parents and students Mrs. Naples publishes a weekly Newsletter that captures the topics that will be covered during the week as well as reminders. The Newsletter always includes Zoom links for remote classes and the Classroom Google Sites. She has been very understanding and adaptive in her curriculum. When students are sick, she realizes that their health is of utmost importance, and makes sure the students’ focus on their health first, and then works with the parents and child to get them caught up on any material that was missed. She has been adaptive to students that are both in person and those that must quarantine due to a potential exposure or positive test case by teaching both in person and streaming her lessons via zoom/virtual platform for students that are remote.
Both the students and parents love Mrs. Naples!
Meredith Redding, Kindergarten at Chattahoochee Hills Charter
Ms. Redding goes above the call of command for her students. Weather we are learning in-person or virtual, Ms. Redding is going to make learning exciting! My child is musically talented and Ms. Redding either creates a song or will teach students a song to help them understand what they are learning, and I so dearly love that about her. Ms. Redding also doesn’t refer to her students as students but friends, to let the children know she is an adult you can talk to.
During our virtual learning period, Ms. Redding kept the students interacting with one another. She would do scavenger hunts with the students and ask them to find various items throughout their home which was interesting as it made my child think outside of the box.
She is such a wonderful teacher who truly cares about each student and making school a fun and exciting place to learn, all while incorporating Chatt Hills Tri-Focus into as many lessons as possible!
Megan Bueter, Kindergarten at Brookhaven Innovation Academy
Ms. Bueter is making a difference at Brookhaven Innovation Academy by being a truly dedicated educational professional who provides her best instruction to our Bears every day. She is also a team player and understands her role in the overall functioning of the school. Ms. Bueter is in her second year as a teacher, but she operates at a level well beyond those years. Those who are lucky enough to have her as a teacher are in very loving and capable hands!
Ms. Bueter has been innovative, supportive, and adapted to in-person and distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis by committing to earning her Google Educator Certification, which enabled her to use Google Suite for Educators to the fullest to ensure as little disruption in learning as possible to her in-person and virtual students. She also learned how to use various educational platforms in conjunction with Google Classroom while keeping a personal component to on-line learning. Ms. Bueter is a wonderful teacher who has and will continue to accomplish great things as an educator!
Eilene Epperson, 4th grade at ICS Atlanta
Ms. Epperson is the epitome of patience. She is always kind and understanding with her students while maintaining consistently high expectations.
Rachael Wolford, Music at Brookhaven Innovation Academy
Ms. Wolford is making a difference at Brookhaven Innovation Academy by always seeking ways to incorporate music into content area subject matter and project-based learning, which is a tenet of our charter. One example of this is how she had the students create a soundtrack for the novel they were studying in their English Language Arts class. This one creative idea helped the students better comprehend the book by providing them an outlet to demonstrate their understanding through making song selections that appropriately helped tell its story.
Ms. Wolford is also excellent at seeking out grant opportunities to help fund projects and acquisition of resources for the school’s music program. I have worked with her for 4 years, and each year she has received at least one grant! Besides being a great teacher, Ms. Wolford is a collaborative team player who helps whenever and wherever she is asked and often pitches in where she identifies a need. Currently, she is helping our P.E. coach plan Field Day, and she’s always available to assist her colleagues with lesson plans, entering grades into Infinite Campus, you name it!
Ms. Wolford was supportive of the difficult decisions made by the school’s administration during this difficult time and is a true professional.
Dianne Brown, ELA at Atlanta SMART Academy
Ms. Brown exemplifies a what it means to be a great teacher! From her tone and her nurturing spirit to her Solutionists, to the data and growth that we have seen in ELA grades across the board. We are so excited to have her with us.
Aisha Anfield, Science and math at Atlanta SMART Academy
Ms. Anfield affectionately known as Ms. A is an amazing part of the ASA family. She is hard working, dedicated and passionate about educating children. Ms. A makes learning fun so her students enjoy learning and being challenged in her class. If that weren’t enough, she also contributes to the entire school environment by serving as a mentor. We are so honored to have her as a part of our team.
J’Ydina Ferrell, Math at Atlanta SMART Academy
Ms. Ferrell is a self-proclaimed “math maniac.” She loves math and inspires a love of math in her students. She thinks outside of the box to create engaging lessons and boosts her students’ confidence in their own math ability. She leads our math club and has brought robotics to our school.
Josnil Cruz, 2nd grade at International Community School of Atlanta
Ms. Cruz works diligently to ensure a positive learning environment for all ICSAtlanta students. She has recently stepped up to be both a grade-level and language lead. She works hard to provide a rigorous and culturally relevant academic experience for her Spanish students.
Dione Smith, 1st Grade at International Community School of Atlanta
Ms. Smith is an exemplar teacher. She always puts her students first. She goes above and beyond to meet students’ academic needs while creating a nurturing environment for all. We are lucky to have her here at ICS!
Ms. Smith is the epitome of “flexible.” She is always ready for anything. She seamlessly adapted instruction during the pandemic and found innovative ways to engage her students both online and in the classroom.
Marie Tingle, Teacher at International Community School
Ms. Tingle begins every day with a morning meeting in which she highlights her students’ unique skills. She finds ways to bring her community of scholars together as one and continuously integrates SEL into the entire school day. Marie continues to push her students academically and makes sure that they understand the importance of community engagement. She is one of our shining stars!
Megan Perkins, Math/Science and Special Ed. Coordinator at International Charter Academy of Georgia
It is with great pleasure that I recognize Megan Perkins passion and zest for teaching and learning. Ms. Perkins has built an outstanding classroom community and her students are not only challenged but they are having fun. Ms. Perkins wears multiple hats and performs each one without complaining, she is appreciated. ICAGeorgia would not be same without Ms. Perkins.
Ms. Perkins has used technology to support her learners throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Both in-person and online she creates fun interactive standards-based activities and games to engage her students.
Laura Leigh Penland, 2nd grade at Georgia Cyber Academy
Ms. Penland serves her team as the Math Content Chair. She also serves as a mentor teacher to induction level staff. Ms. Penland is a role model for others. She is highly collaborative and will lend a helping hand to anyone in need. She is an exceptional teacher leader who makes a great impact on those she works with as well as students. The parents Ms. Penland works with consistently give feedback that she helps them to be successful in supporting their children at home. She has a gift for building relationships with the whole family!
Ms. Penland is an innovative virtual teacher who consistently plans creative and engaging lessons for students. It does not matter that her students are not physically present with her in a school building. Ms. Penland builds a classroom culture that is inclusive, warm, and challenges all students. Students love to participate virtually and learn with Ms. Penland!
Paige Silva, LIFE Teacher
Paige welcomes every student into her class, no matter what their ability or disability. She strives to meet every need, even when her class is over capacity and the needs of her students were so diverse. Most importantly, in meetings with parents, she’s sensitive to student needs but advocates for their attendance, engagement, and for their right to an appropriately challenging academic environment.
Paige has brought her experience as a media specialist to her virtual classroom. Think it’s impossible to set up a “reading corner” in a virtual classroom? Let Paige prove you wrong! She’s provided a variety of age appropriate, reading level appropriate books for her students, complete with the accommodations (read aloud) that students need to enjoy them.