By Christopher Smith
Amy Gleaton, who has taught at Dalton Public Schools for 10 years, spent the past two teaching science at Dalton High School.
In science, she says, failure is inescapable.
The same applies to life.
“In science, it could be a failed experiment,” she said. “But that’s an opportunity to show kids that even when it doesn’t work you try again. Sometimes in science, it’s not going to work. So we have to try a new hypothesis to get it to work. I try to equate that with students’ lives.”
On Monday night, her ability to connect with students paid off. Gleaton was named Dalton Public Schools’ 2013-14 Teacher of the Year during the Dalton Board of Education meeting. She was selected from eight system-wide finalists and will compete at the state level later this year.
“It’s very humbling,” Gleaton said. “I think they could have chosen any other teacher, from the group (of system finalists) or any teacher from the individual schools.”
But school administrators didn’t choose someone else.
“I just enjoy what I do and I think the kids notice that and my colleagues too,” Gleaton said about why she might have been selected above the others. “I think I just try to meet kids where they are. I realize all of them can learn with encouragement and reassurance. Everyone has a great potential.
“I try to look at the kids like I look at my own two little girls and my niece and nephew. They need someone to love them and see their potential and not get discouraged from rough days.”
Enjoying teaching didn’t come right away for Gleaton, she said. She was originally studying her graduate school practicum after getting a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from the University of Georgia.
While studying, she substitute taught “on the side” to pay for bills, she said. During that time she “felt like teaching was something I would enjoy.”
So Gleaton got her master’s degree in middle grades education from the University of West Georgia and “never looked back.”
That kind of gusto is one of the reasons school board chairman Danny Crutchfield said Gleaton is an example of an “outstanding teacher.”
“We appreciate you for inspiring students to grow in many ways beyond their understanding of science,” he told Gleaton.
Other school-level teacher of the year winners are Christen Brown of Roan Elementary School; Julia Cagle of Morris Innovative High School; Kimberly Fannin of Park Creek Elementary School; William Henderson of Dalton Middle School; Jane Keegan of Brookwood Elementary School; Ashley McMath of Blue Ridge Elementary;Megan Walker of Westwood Elementary School; and Jaclyn Wilson of City Park Elementary School.