Thomas County School System officials have named Delisa Barrow, a fourth-grade teacher at Cross Creek Elementary School, the 2015 District Teacher of the Year.
Barrow learned of this honor at an impromptu faculty meeting where she was joined by coworkers, friends and family. Barrow said that she was surprised and excited by the announcement.
“I’ve been a Thomas County Yellow Jacket since I was five years old when I started kindergarten,” Barrow said. “I feel truly blessed to be serving in a school and school system where the commitment to student achievement and welfare is so evident. Being a Yellow Jacket all of my life, it is an honor to have been selected to represent such an exceptional group of educators.”
After graduating from Thomas County Central High School in 1996, Barrow received her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Thomas University. During her first couple of years of teaching, Barrow completed her Masters Degree in early childhood with a Reading Endorsement from Valdosta State University. She continued her education by receiving a Specialist’s Degree from Georgia Southwestern University in 2010.
Barrow has been a teacher for 13 years, with 12 at Cross Creek, and one year in Colquitt County.
Cross Creek Principal Clay Stanaland said that the Teacher of the Year honor “couldn’t have happened to a better person.”
Stanaland said, “Mrs. Barrow demonstrates passion, professionalism and purpose in her teaching. Her devotion to her students is uncompromised.”
Influenced by former teachers, Barrow said that she wanted to be remembered for making a difference in someone’s life.
Barrow said, “During my thirteen years as a teacher, I have received several awards, such as being voted as one of Georgia’s first Master Teachers, but there are no greater accolades than the small treasures I find on my desk that little hands place there when I’m not looking. The handwritten notes that say, ‘I love you, Mrs. Barrow!’ or ‘You are the best teacher I’ve ever had!’ or ‘Thank you for coming to my house.’ Those awards are priceless to me.”
As a teacher of reading, language arts and science, Barrow feels that her greatest contribution to the teaching profession is her commitment to her students.
“I strive everyday to love, provide for and educate students at Cross Creek Elementary,” Barrow said. “I am committed to establishing relationships with each one. I want to know their interests, hobbies and fears. I am committed to having them think about their plans and goals for the future. I am committed to creating a fun learning environment that challenges their minds and inspires them to become life-long learners. But most of all, I am committed to being a positive influence in their lives.”
The Teacher of the Year process began in February. School winners were judged on a written application and an interview before a non-partisan committee. Judges submitted independent ratings for each candidate, and the person with the highest overall average was named District Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Bob Dechman, director of Federal Programs, Accountability and Assessment, oversees the Teacher of the Year process.
“We had a group of six wonderful educators chosen by their schools as teacher of the year,” stated Dechman. “Each of the school winners distinguished themselves as caring professionals during the interview process. We are very proud that Mrs. Barrow will represent our school district in the competition for State Teacher of the Year.”
Dr. Dusty Kornegay congratulated Barrow, noting that he recommended Barrow for a teaching position in Thomas County while he was serving as principal at Cross Creek.
“Delisa has always had a passion for her students, and she is an outstanding teacher. We are very proud of her and wish her the very best in the state competition,” Kornegay said.