The 2022-2023 teachers of the year from both the Hall County School District and Gainesville City Schools were honored Wednesday afternoon at the annual luncheon hosted by the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivster Foundation.
Both faculty members received a $10,000 check from the Ivester Foundation at a luncheon held at the Oaks at Lanier College and Career Academy. The Hall County Teacher of the Year was Susan Howard of Lanier Elementary School and the Gainesville Teacher of the Year was Cynthia Kinsey of New Holland Learning Academy.
Partners from both areas, including the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, Lanier Technical College and the Great Hall Chamber of Commerce, celebrated Howard and Kinsey along with faculty, family, board members and the Ivester Foundation.
“I think everybody in America is shaped by their teachers, positively or negatively, you can be shaped either way,” Doug Ivester said. “And I think the teachers in Hall County and the Gainesville school system are shaping people in a good way. They’re shaping people to be prepared for their future, and we’re just excited to be a part of that.”
Howard said it’s an honor to be recognized at the dinner and to receive the $10,000 gift.
“To be a teacher, especially if you’re passionate about it and you feel like it’s a mission field, like I do, today was just the cherry on top,” Howard said. “The recognition and all the kind words have been very encouraging.”
And, Kinsey said that while it was an honor to be recognized at the dinner, the real honor comes in the form of her experience with the students.
“What’s even more of an honor is knowing the lives of the kids you’ve impacted,” Kinsey said. “That’s what’s so important. I love what I do. I’ve been doing it for 15 years, and I love it as much today as I did the first day I started.”
Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said it was great to come together and celebrate Howard and Kinsey.
“For 37 years, I have watched how hard teachers work, how they pass absolutely everything from themselves to the next generation,” said Schofield. “This is a special day for the teaching profession, for the next generation and for Hall County.”
Likewise, Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams said the event brought back recognition to those who are educating the nation’s young people to succeed.
“All of us as an administration started out as teachers at some point, and this event always gives you an opportunity to just remember the impact our teachers have on the classroom,” Williams said. “No matter what we do as administrators, it all happens in the classroom. That’s where the differences happen. That’s where the love and nurturing happens.”
Click through the photo gallery above to see a series of photos taken at the annual dinner.