‘I be­came a teacher to change kids, but be­ing a teacher has changed me’

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - From staff re­ports

Rome City Schools an­nounced their Teacher of the Year and Sup­port Staff of the Year at a ban­quet Tues­day night. The win­ners were nom­i­nated by their peers, com­pleted a lengthy ap­pli­ca­tion process and were eval­u­ated by ed­u­ca­tors out­side of the sys­tem.

Tak­ing home the honor for Sup­port Staff of the Year was Scott McClure, a para­pro­fes­sional for Elm Street Ele­men­tary. Run­ner-up for Teacher of the Year Hil­lary Oliver, who teaches first grade at West End, thanked her friends, cowork­ers and fam­ily for their sup­port.

Af­ter a din­ner pro­vided by Rome Mid­dle School, Becky Kem­nitz was named Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year. Kem­nitz teaches third grade at Anna K. Davie Ele­men­tary School, and she is also a ten­nis coach at Rome High School.

As her eyes welled with tears at the podium, she gave the au­di­ence the source of her mo­ti­va­tion.

“I be­came a teacher to change kids, but be­ing a teacher has changed me,” she said.

Kem­nitz went on to tell the story of a chance meet­ing with a for­mer stu­dent while or­der­ing food. She said that the young lady in the driv­ethru re­mem­bered hav­ing her as a teacher. The lit­tle girl, hand­ing food through the win­dow, was now an adult and she wanted to let Kem­nitz how much she ap­pre­ci­ated the time Kem­nitz spent work­ing to change the lives of kids.

“It is an un­be­liev­able honor to work with tonight’s win­ners, and our en­tire fac­ulty here in Rome City Schools,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Louis Byars said. “We have so many peo­ple, who de­serve to be rec­og­nized, but th­ese teach­ers are re­ally spe­cial and we are glad to let them know how proud we are of them.”

Faith Collins, Rome City Schools Board chair, said that she was ex­tremely proud of all of the nom­i­nees and the win­ners were all de­serv­ing of the honor. Ed­u­ca­tors and sup­port staff nom­i­nated were given an award and a gift bas­ket pro­vided by Rome City Schools com­mu­nity part­ners.

Rome City Schools pho­tos

ABOVE: Co-chair Jill Fisher (left) hugs Teacher of the Year win­ner Becky Kem­nitz on Tues­day night. LEFT, TOP: Sup­port Staff of the Year win­ner Scott McClure is a para­pro­fes­sional at Elm Street Ele­men­tary. LEFT, BOT­TOM: Su­per­in­ten­dent Louis Byars con­grat­u­lates the win­ners at the awards ban­quet at Rome Mid­dle School. BELOW: Run­ner-up for Teacher of the Year Hil­lary Oliver teaches first grade at West End Ele­men­tary School.

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