The Thomaston-Upson Board of Education honored its Teachers of the Year with a reception prior to their BOE meeting Tuesday night, then School Superintendent Dr. Maggie Shook and BOE Chairman Keith Rohling presented each Teacher of the Year with their framed certificate. Dr. Shook gave a brief bio of each of the Teachers of the Year. Pam McKinley was named the Thomaston-Upson School System Teacher of the Year.
ULNE Teacher of the Year
Pattie earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Georgia in 1986. She returned to college and received a post-baccalaureate certification in Early Childhood Education from Mercer University in 2004. She currently teaches English Language Arts and Social Studies at Upson-Lee North, serving as the Social Studies Team Leader for 4th grade.
After having children of her own, Pattie saw the tremendous impact that teachers had on her children. It was at this point in her life that she felt God leading her to have a positive impact on children’s lives through teaching. She counts the positive differences she has made in the lives of her students among her greatest accomplishments.
Pattie wrote, “I love to get my students engaged in learning. I find that when I’m passionate about what I’m teaching, my students usually share that enthusiasm.” She strives to make her classroom a “nurturing, supportive environment where children feel safe, encouraged, and valued”.
Congratulations, Pattie Weed, Upson-Lee North Elementary Teacher of the Year!
ULMS Teacher of the Year
Daniel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication with a concentration in marketing from the University of Georgia in 2006 and a Master’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Columbus State University in 2013. He is gifted certified and currently teaches 8th grade Mathematics at Upson-Lee Middle School.
Daniel originally had no desire to be a teacher, and after graduation from UGA, he chose a career in sales. Although he experienced success in this first career, he was not fulfilled. He writes, “Finally, it hit me! I needed to sell something I could feel good about. I needed to find a way to use the marketing skills that I had acquired and the sales techniques, and I needed to sell children on their education.” He gives credit to his parents, both educators and “perfect role models”, for equipping him with the powerful tools necessary to succeed as an educator.
Daniel wrote that his greatest accomplishment in education has been “guiding students to a belief in their own abilities”. He knows that by believing in his students and teaching them to believe in themselves, he is able to guide them down a pathway that leads to success both in and out of the classroom.
Congratulations, Daniel Purvis, Upson-Lee Middle School Teacher of the Year!
ULHS Teacher of the Year
Stephen earned a Bachelor’s degree in History from Columbus State University in 2003, a Master’s degree in Social Studies Grades 6-12 in 2004, and a Specialist’s degree in Social Studies Grades 6-12 in 2012. He is gifted and AP certified and currently teaches AP American Government, American Government, and Psychology at Upson-Lee High School.
Stephen credits both his great-grandmother and his experiences in the United States Army as influencing his decision to become a teacher. His great-grandmother was a teacher in Dodge County and taught Stephen that the greatest gifts were unconditional love and helping others. He wrote, “She inspires me to this day to remember that this job is about the students and not me.” After graduating from high school in 1996, Stephen went into the Army. While on a peace-keeping tour in Bosnia, he spent a lot of time with children who had lost their fathers in the civil war there. It was during this time that he felt the call to teach. He wrote, “Our children are our greatest investment for the future, and I wanted to be a part of that process.”
Stephen feels that touching the hearts of his students is one of his greatest accomplishments in education. Since beginning his teaching career, he has done two tours of duty in Iraq with the GA National Guard. He was wounded on combat patrol in September 2005 and received a Purple Heart. Stephen shares his life experiences with his students each year and knows that these experiences have made him a better teacher by showing him “how life is short and to be thankful for what we have as Americans.”
Congratulations, Stephen Boyd, Upson-Lee High School Teacher of the Year!
ULSE Teacher of the Year
Thomaston-Upson School System Teacher of the Year
Pam received an Associate’s degree from Gordon Junior College in 1978, a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of Georgia in 1980, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of West Georgia in 1984, and a Specialist’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia College and State University in 2008. She is gifted certified and currently teaches 2nd grade at Upson-Lee South.
Pam credits her parents, who were both educators, and a job as a teaching assistant for influencing her decision to become an educator. Although her parents had always stressed the importance of education and of teaching others, Pam was undecided as to her career path after high school graduation. Her decision to take a part-time job as a teacher’s aide at an elementary school resulted in a first-day experience that would change her life. Pam wrote that she knew at the end of her first day on the job that she wanted to be a teacher. “While I was busy copying, stapling, and preparing the teacher’s supplies, I was also watching, learning, and thinking to myself – I can’t wait to do what this teacher is doing!” With her career chosen, she enrolled in college the next semester.
Pam’s goal as a teacher is to provide the best possible educational experience for all students. She feels that good communication between home and school is crucial and believes in building a team of caring adults to support a student in his or her educational journey. She also believes in building a strong relationship among all students within her classroom. Each year, she explains to her students that they are a school family, and they should take care of each other. She wrote, “In my classroom, our motto is belong, believe, and become. If I can get a student to feel he belongs, then he starts believing, and eventually becomes. Once a student ‘becomes,’ his personality shines through, his confidence is obvious, and his learning is evident.”
Congratulations, Pam McKinley, Upson-Lee South Teacher of the Year and Thomaston-Upson School System Teacher of the Year!