APyeS! Applauding our 2019-2020 Excellence in Teaching Award Finalists

Mornings like today are the ones I cherish most as part of my work in Atlanta Public Schools – getting to celebrate excellence in teaching and learning! Today was especially special because – as is tradition in APS – we surprised three extraordinary teachers to give them the news: You are a finalist for the APS Excellence in Teaching Award!

The district’s teachers are “superheroes” because they have the power to nurture original thinkers and create life-long learners. As educators, teachers can completely change the trajectory of a child’s life with knowledge. What they do is truly ‘heart’ work, as much as it is hard work, and year after year, they return to our classrooms and engage our students with compassion and energy.

Consider our very own Tracey Pendley, fourth grade teacher at Burgess-Peterson Academy who is not only the reigning winner of the district’s Excellence in Teaching Award but is also the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year!

Today, we recognized three other APS teachers who are among the best of the best – our elementary, middle and high school Teachers of the Year – during special announcements at their schools!

As finalists, they will compete for the Excellence in Teaching Award (the official name of the district’s Teacher of the Year award.). They will be recognized during the APyeS! Awards ceremony on Tuesday, October 29, at the Delta Flight Museum.

The 2019-2020 District-wide Teacher of the Year finalists are:    

APS Elementary School Teacher of the Year – Amanda Larkin

An APS teacher for 12 years, Amanda Larkin teaches ESOL at Sarah Smith Elementary School. Each year, she writes and facilitates a Title III federal grant for an ESOL afterschool tutoring program. This year, she was selected as La Amistad’s School Partner Speaker for the collaboration with the after-school program. Principal Emily Boatright described Larkin as “a shining star” for Sarah Smith, who “strives to have each child develop intellectually, socially, and emotionally to achieve their highest potential.”

APS Middle School Teacher of the Year – Kamilah Rose Pettway

Kamilah Rose Pettway, an 8th grade language and literature teacher, has taught at King Middle School for 10 of her 20 years in APS. Principal Paul Brown said Pettway’s ultimate contribution is serving for more than four years as cooperating teacher with the CREATE Residency partnership with Georgia State University. In this role, she trains new teachers and serves as support in fostering equity-centered, collaborative and reflective professional learning.

APS High School Teacher of the Year – Krissi Davis

Krissi Davis has served as the Orchestra Director at Grady High School since Fall 2017 and has taught for 15 years. Before teaching at Grady, Davis taught at Sutton Middle School and served as the Lead Middle School Orchestra Teacher for APS. Under her direction, the Sutton Middle School Sinfonia Orchestra performed in the National Band and Orchestra Festival in Carnegie Hall in New York in Spring 2016. Her principal is Betsy Bockman.

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