By Christopher Smith
Kay Moss has had many mentors during her 26-year career in education.
Actually, she says they are too numerous to list.
Moss credits those mentors for teaching her how to include every student, regardless of their ability. Although she now teaches in a regular education environment, she remembers her early years with special education students.
“Despite the odds, I expected them to learn,” said Moss, now a first grade teacher at Roan School. “I never allowed them to believe their disability was who they were. I believe that a school should always do what is right for every kid, regardless of their background. When I remember the good things of my childhood, the memories are all about school and about my teachers who instilled a desire to keep learning. It stayed with me forever and I want to pass it on to every child I teach.”
On Monday, her ability to reach children paid off as she was named Dalton Public Schools’ 2012-13 Teacher of the Year during the Dalton Board of Education meeting.
Although she said the award was inspiring, she couldn’t take all of the credit.
“It’s a huge honor,” Moss said. “However, if I’m teacher of the year it is because of the great mentors in my life, other teachers who raised me like their family, fostering my thirst for education.”
Her ability to include all students is what makes her exceptional, Roan School Principal Cindy Parrot said.
“She repeatedly demonstrates the ability to engage students,” Parrot said. “She knows to treat each kid as an individual.”
Parrot also said Moss is dedicated to implementing the most relevant programs into her teaching.
“I continue to expand into regular education,” Moss said. “However, I make sure to find opportunities to teach all kinds of students in my classroom. I will always celebrate differences and innovation.”
Danny Crutchfield, chairman of the Dalton Board of Education, opened the meeting by congratulating Moss, saying she exemplifies the best in teaching.
“A great teacher has a real interest in their students,” Crutchfield said. “A great teacher encourages students to achieve at their highest level and to dream big dreams. Kay Moss exhibits these qualities.”
Moss will now compete for honors on the state level. She has been with Dalton Public Schools since 1998.
Other school level teacher of the year winners are Pam Smith, a third grade teacher at Blue Ridge School; Jessica Clark, a former first grade teacher and current assistant principal at Brookwood School; Gwynn Brookshire, first grade teacher at City Park School; Jacqueline Hudson, a third grade teacher at Park Creek School; Susan Jaconetti, a kindergarten teacher at Westwood School; Sarah Ott, a seventh grade science teacher at Dalton Middle School; J.P. Westfield, a former math teacher at Dalton High School; and Cathy Jo Troutman Little, a social studies teacher at Morris Innovative High School.