By Alicia Couch Payne
Community and school leaders were present at a banquet on March 12, 2019, at the Buford Community Center to honor the best of the best teachers that Buford has to offer. It was a night filled with good company, great food, a few laughs, beautiful music, and memorable words all to celebrate the selfless work of four talented and caring teachers.
The evening kicked off with a wonderful performance from the Buford High School Jazz Band directed by Matt Young. Bobby Dubay, 2018 System Teacher of the Year was on hand to welcome everyone and give brief introductions. The Manager of Buford’s Diversity and Inclusion Program, Ms. Lacrecia Smith led the attendees in the evening’s invocation. Dr. Chris Fowler directed a stellar performance from the Buford High School’s Trio and Quartet.
Dr. Amy Chafin spoke about the selection process on how the Teacher of the Year was chosen. The process began last Spring where the teachers were selected by their peers. Over the summer, those candidates that were selected by their peers had to complete an extensive written application. This past fall, a Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. The system Teacher of the Year is judged using a scoring rubric by experienced educators from outside the Buford School System. The Committee spends time with the finalists and observes their classroom.
Tara Prince, the principal for Buford Elementary School introduced her school’s Teacher of the Year, April Graddick and informed everyone what makes Ms. Graddick so special. The Buford Academy Teacher of the Year Betsy Parker was introduced and praised for her ability to reach her students by the Academy’s principal, Kaleen Pulley. Buford Middle School principal Melanie Reed told the audience why Jackie Corley was selected as the BMS Teacher of the Year and what makes her an effective educator. Each school’s Teacher of the Year followed their introduction with a brief speech where they told why they chose to teach, talked about their mentors, co-workers, thanked their families and others who helped them along the way, what inspires them in the classroom, and a little bit about lessons learned.
Buford High School Principal Ed Shaddix took a moment to talk about his experience working with the night’s honored guest, the Buford City School System’s Teacher of the Year, Lynda Fouquette. She teaches ESOL or English as a second language. She says that a language barrier will not stop her from teaching her students.
A representative from Georgia’s Own Credit Union presented Ms. Fouquette with a gift. Superintendent Downs gave the closing remarks of the 2019 Teacher of the Year award.
The banquet was well put together. It was elegant without being stuffy and the food catered by Rico’s World Kitchen was delicious. A special thank you to Amy Moody for organizing the banquet. Without her hard work, there would not be this special event. Thank you as well to the City of Buford, Buford Board of Education, Peach State Credit Union for sponsoring the event, Jeff Ayers, BHS Student Servers and Denise Simpson, Matt Young and the BHS Jazz Band, Chris Fowler and the BHS Trio and Quartet, Georgia’s Own Credit Union, Rico’s, and Siam Imports.