Tattnall County Schools recognized their top teachers for at the local level by awarding them the title of 2022 Teacher of the Year for each of the schools.
Collins Elementary School
Katara Scott is the Collins Elementary School (CES) Teacher of the Year. This is Scott’s sixth year teaching at CES, and she currently teaches fourth grade math and social studies.
Scott was thankful to receive this award and was glad that her hard work did not go unnoticed. She enjoys watching her students learn from her and other teachers every day.
“I believe that it is important to never put limitations on a child’s learning experience, whether the child is gifted or requires accommodations,” Scott said. “As teachers, it is imperative that we keep developing professionally, because there is always room for growth and improvement. The classroom learning environment should always include a teacher who is dedicated in his/her guidance to teach others.”
Scott obtained her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development from Georgia Southern University (GSU). She then received her teacher certification through GaTAPP.
Scott’s eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Lamb, pushed her in her math class and ultimately inspired her to become a teacher.
“She motivated me to strive for my true potential,” Scott said. “She was always passionate about teaching, and I always admired that in her. I realize that I have been called to impact and make a difference in the lives of children. Teaching can be challenging at times, but that’s just life in general.”
Scott lives in Collins with her husband, Willie, and they have two children, Darien Cone and Kalia Scott. Darien is 21 years old and attends Dalton State College. Kalia is 13 years old and is a seventh-grade student at North Tattnall Middle School.
Glennville Elementary School
Alisa Nails is the Glennville Elementary School (GES) Teacher of the Year. She has dedicated 21 years to GES, five as a teacher and 16 as a paraprofessional. She is a first-grade math, English language arts, and science teacher.
While Nails was surprised to be awarded Teacher of the Year, she was also proud to be honored for a career she is so passionate about.
“Just seeing the children make a total transformation from the beginning of the school year until the end is the best feeling ever,” Nails said. “I also love how the students come back to me years later and tell me how much I meant to them and the difference I made in their lives.
“I have always said, ‘I only want to treat the children that enter my classroom the same way I would have wanted my own personal children treated if they were in school.’ I also want my students to come to school each day knowing that he or she is loved and cared for in a warm and safe environment. The students do come to school, so I can teach them new things, but my number one job is to keep them safe.”
Nails obtained her Bachelor of Science in Education from Brewton Parker College. She was inspired to become a teacher by Sherri Kicklighter-Durrence.
Nails resides in Glennville, and she has three sons: Shelton Johnson, 40; Shavon Nails, 26; and De’Shon Nails, 26.
Reidsville Elementary School
Alexis Smith Ferrell is Reidsville Elementary School’s (RES) Teacher of the Year. Ferrell is a second-year teacher, currently teaching third grade English language arts.
“RES is an awesome school to be at. We have wonderful leadership and all of the teachers and staff are like family. I really am so blessed to be at this school,” Ferrell said. “I was so shocked, honored and humbled when I was told that I won teacher of the year. Receiving this award made me even more thankful to work at RES. When I was told this, I knew that this would have never been possible to achieve on my own. It takes a village to teach our children and make sure their best interests are always at hand. The collaboration and encouragement from coworkers is something that I will always cherish and value on a daily basis.”
Ferrell always knew she wanted to work with children. She chose teaching as her career, because she knew she would have a full school year to hopefully make a difference in the lives of her students.
“I had so many wonderful teachers growing up. There are still several things I remember about school that certain teachers did to make the year memorable,” Ferrell said. “I was inspired to be a teacher in hopes to create a classroom environment that students would want to remember. Just like I remember great things about school, I want to be the teacher that creates those memorable moments for students in my classroom. Students might not always remember what I teach them on a daily basis, but they will remember how they felt when they were in my classroom.”
Ferrell believes that her students need to know that they are loved and appreciated when they enter her classroom. For Ferrell, the most rewarding thing about teaching is watching the students learn and grow throughout the entire year.
“I want each child to know they bring a variety of strengths and talents to our class. From the first day of class, I teach my students that we are a class family,” Ferrell said. “We are all to treat each other with respect, kindness and celebrate each other’s successes that take place throughout the year. I believe when students feel loved and appreciated, they will be more willing to listen, learn and work hard.”
Ferrell obtained a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at GSU. She is currently working on a Master of Education in Elementary Education at Valdosta State University (VSU).
Ferrell and her husband, Ridge, reside in Reidsville and are expecting a little girl who is due in October.
North Tattnall Middle School
Inga Cashon is the NTMS Teacher of the Year. She has a total of 14 years of teaching under her belt, previously teaching at Bryan County High School before moving to Reidsville.
She currently teaches Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) exploratory classes to all grade levels at NTMS. She previously taught the engineering and technology education pathway at Bryan County High.
“I believe in a STEM classroom, students gain knowledge and experience to help further their educational careers and future goals. My main objective is for students to become more technologically literate through exploration and innovation,” Cashon said. “I believe regardless of the students’ background or abilities, STEM allows all students to learn at a different pace and level. It integrates all general education classes, such as math, science, and English. Students can bring together all material learned in other subject areas and apply their knowledge in a STEM classroom.
“My goals are to promote student work, provide quality education, teach students to think outside the box and instruct students to become critical thinkers to make the best decisions. I want students to know what options are out there, so they may fulfill their educational or career goals.”
Cashon was overwhelmed to be named Teacher of the Year with the presence of her mom, dad, and husband to celebrate with. She is thankful for an administration, faculty, and staff who are so supportive of each other and the students.
“To be chosen to represent NTMS is something I will not forget. The NTMS students made me feel super congratulated, even students I do not teach but that see me in the hallway. Although all teachers have moments of success each day in their classroom that are celebrated, I believe every teacher should be able to have that moment,” Cashon said.
Cashon obtained her diploma in computer information systems from Southeastern Technical College in May 2002. She then graduated from GSU in December 2007 with her Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis in Technology Education. She then continued her education by obtaining her Master of Education in Teaching and Learning with an emphasis in Engineering and Technology Education from GSU in July 2009. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum Studies with an emphasis in Engineering and Technology Education from GSU, making her a soon-to-be triple-eagle.
Her Georgia Southern Professor, Nathaniel Creighton Alexander, PhD., who passed
away in September 2020, is who inspired her to be a teacher.
“I was an Information Technology major at GSU for my bachelor’s degree and had to choose a minor. Dr. Alexander presented in one of my classes about Technology Education as an option, and I was interested and changed majors the next day,” Cashon said. “He was so good at recruiting students that he was not allowed to give any more presentations! He was the first person who taught me about John Dewey, whose philosophy was learning by doing. His classes involved project-based learning, and a lot of the projects I do today with my students, such as building rockets. He also taught me the importance of marketing my classes to parents and the community to showcase the projects students are creating in class.”
Cashon lives in Statesboro with her husband, Trey.
South Tattnall Middle School
Tori Flowers is the South Tattnall Middle School (STMS) Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching for 11 years at STMS and is currently a computer science teacher for sixth through eighth grades.
Flowers was humbled by the fact that her colleagues believe she is worthy of such an award. She is rewarded daily in the classroom, however, and is thankful God has given her the tools to make an impact on her students.
“While there are many aspects of teaching that are rewarding, it is hard to beat when students, current or those that have moved on, come to you for advice, reassurance, encouragement, or to simply share something good going on in their lives. These are the moments that remind me that I am exactly where God wants me to be, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Flowers said. “Although we are here to teach academic concepts and content, one of the most important things that we can teach our students is how to love… love each other and how to show kindness and compassion towards others. When I see my students becoming compassionate, love-driven citizens in a society that makes those very qualities difficult to demonstrate at times, I thank God for the opportunities that He has given me through my educational career, which have allowed me to become a positive influence in each student’s life story.”
Her teaching philosophy has been shaped by her experiences as an athlete and a coach. The first step to teaching anyone anything is to guide them in skill development, which creates a “can do” mindset, according to Flowers.
“This lays the foundation for setting high expectations, determining goals, and achieving those goals. Education is more than just mastery of content; it’s an opportunity to teach kids how to be a meaningful and productive part of society,” Flowers said.
Flowers was inspired to be a teacher from the impact her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Michelle Tootle, left on her.
“I can remember going to my grandparents’ house and teaching my grandmother, granddaddy, and my stuffed animals many things on the rolling chalkboard that they had at their house just like Mrs. Tootle,” Flowers said. “Math was always my favorite. I feel that those moments with her sparked and developed my love for teaching.”
Flowers obtained her Bachelor of Education in Middle Grades Education from GSU, later receiving her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from GSU. She also has her Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from VSU.
She lives in Glennville with her husband, Justin, and their 1-year-old daughter, Finley.
Tattnall County High School
Joanna Rogers is Tattnall County High School’s (TCHS) Teacher of the Year. She has been a teacher for 15 years. In Tattnall County, she taught Pre-K for three years at GES and has been teaching Pre-K at TCHS for four years.
“I felt very honored to have been chosen to be Teacher of the Year out of such a wonderful group of educators here at TCHS,” Rogers said. “It is one of the greatest joys of my life to be a teacher! When asked about my philosophy of teaching, I guess it is pretty simple. Make the classroom a safe place where students feel loved and accepted. Listen to them, make them feel important, teach them, and watch them grow! I pray that I am a blessing to my students, because the kids and their families sure are a blessing to me.”
Her grandmother, JoAnn Johnson, and her parents, Pat and Fay Edwards, were school teachers as well. Rogers followed in their footsteps and has felt rewarded ever since.
“It is very rewarding to get to watch the students grow and learn. Being part of their first positive school experience is also very memorable,” Rogers said.
Rogers has a Interrelated Special Education degree from GSU with an addition of Early Childhood Education. She also has her Master of Education in Foundations of Education from Troy State University.
Rogers resides in Glennville with her husband, Walt, and their children: Durham Rogers, 12, and Creighton Rogers, 15.