Thomas County School System names Howard Teacher of the Year

Submitted photoPictured with Teacher of the Year Lacey Howard (second from left) are Thomas County School Superintendent Dr. Lisa Williams, Cross Creek Elementary Principal Clay Stanaland, and Retired Superintendent Dr. Dusty Kornegay.  

Thomas County School System officials have named Lacey Howard, fourth grade SPED teacher at Cross Creek Elementary School, as the District Teacher of the Year.

“I was very surprised and felt very honored to be named Teacher of the Year,” Howard said. “There are always so many wonderful things happening in the Thomas County School System. To be given the opportunity to represent our amazing system is such a privilege.” 

Howard has been a teacher for six years with Thomas County Schools. She began her teaching career in 2012 as a teacher for the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program, Pathways. She has been teaching at Cross Creek Elementary since August 2013.

As a fourth grade teacher at Cross Creek, Howard teaches in a resource setting where she provides instruction in math, language, reading and writing. She also serves as the fourth grade special education LEAD teacher.

“Getting to work with such talented students and colleagues every day is hands down my favorite part of teaching,” Howard said. “I love that we all get to support, encourage, learn from, and love one another.” 

Said Cross Creek Principal Clay Stanaland, “Mrs. Howard has earned the distinction of Thomas County Teacher of the Year because of her dedication to the success and safety of all students here at Cross Creek.”

Howard said that “there has never been any question about what profession I would choose.”

“As a young girl, I remember looking at teachers with such admiration and respect and could never imagine that a person could have a more important job,” said Howard. “I still feel the same way today, and I view teaching as a profession, a very important one that truly shapes the future of everyone.”

Howard graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and special education.

She is currently working on her master’s in early childhood from Georgia Southwestern State University. 

Howard engages her students using lessons suitable for their ability levels.

“Since becoming a teacher, my belief that all students can learn has not changed,” Howard added. “What learning looks like might be and should be different for all, but we can all learn something. It is my goal to make students aware of their differences, recognize and build upon their strengths, and to help them develop a voice to communicate what they need to be successful in this great big world.”    

The Teacher of the Year (TOTY) process began in February. School winners were judged on a written application and an interview before an impartial committee. Judges submitted independent ratings for each candidate, and the person with the highest overall average was named District Teacher of the Year. 

Robin Cartright, curriculum director, who oversees the Teacher of the Year process, said, “We are so very fortunate to have such dedicated and innovative teachers in all of our schools. The interview panel had a very difficult job in selecting the 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year.”

 “We are delighted to have Lacey Howard as Thomas County’s Teacher of the Year,” Cartright added. “Mrs. Howard will represent our system well at the state level.”

Superintendent Dr. Lisa Williams said, “Mrs. Howard is an exceptional teacher and we are very fortunate to have her as a member of our Jacket family. I congratulate her on being named our system’s Teacher of the Year. She is a great representative of the many incredible teachers that we have throughout our district. I have full confidence that she will excel at the state-level competition.”