May 27, 2014

Singletary named teacher of the year

Math isn’t always some students’ favorite subject, but Billy Singletary strives to find ways to keep his students engaged in the classroom, including through the use of humor and by viewing his students as part of a team.

“My classroom style is similar to a coach,” he said. “We’re all on the same team. I try to get them to a place to succeed.”

Singletary, the lead math teacher at Coahulla Creek High School, was named Whitfield County Schools’ teacher of the year on Tuesday. Each school in the system selects a teacher of the year, then a system-wide honoree is chosen. Singletary will receive $500 from the Whitfield Education Foundation, as well as gift certificates to local businesses.

“I’m so proud of Billy for receiving this well-deserved award,” Stephanie Hungerpiller, assistant principal at Coahulla Creek, said. “He’s wonderful at building relationships with the students ... He’s a fantastic teacher.”

Hungerpiller said Singletary challenges his students, but then helps them meet those challenges.

Singletary said he was surprised to receive the award. He has taught each high school math class except calculus, which he says he’ll teach next school year.

Singletary said he tries to bring excitement to his lesson plans and mixes in humor as well.

“I try to help them learn it, even when it’s not their favorite subject,” he said.

Singletary is constantly improving his teaching methods, Superintendent Judy Gilreath said. She said he communicates well with both students and parents.

“He tries to model healthy optimism,” Gilreath said. “He remains calm even in stressful situations.”

She said that calm demeanor works well with students.

Singletary is able to adapt and adjust, and helps his students master the required standards, Gilreath said. But he also goes above just the minimum and encourages “underachieving students” to reach their highest potential, she said.

Singletary is able to find students’ individual talents and use those to teach them, Gilreath said.

Singletary’s wife, Laura, is a math professor at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. She said her husband spends “countless hours” coming up with ways to help students and his fellow math teachers.

“My husband is very dedicated,” she said. “He’s always looking for new ways to help students. ... It’s an honor to be married to him.”

Singletary has been at Coahulla Creek for two years, and was at Eastbrook Middle School for several years before that.

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