MILLEDGEVILLE — The 2012-2013 Baldwin County Teacher of the Year Dianna Hornsby Perdue said she is blessed to continue her career by making a positive impact on the future, teaching the love of learning to a new generation of young, energetic students.
“I consider myself lucky to be a teacher. We have the capability to make students love or hate school, so I strive to be as positive as I can be to teach them respect for authority and just doing the best they can,” said Perdue, a first through third grade gifted resource teacher at Creekside Elementary School. “I feel very blessed to be part of Creekside because we’re like a big family. I work with a lot of different teachers; we’re part of a staff that works so well together to collaborate and meet the needs of our students.”
Families, friends and fellow colleagues gathered in the Baldwin Fine Arts Center Monday for the annual Teacher of the Year and Retirement Celebration to support six candidates, one from each school in the Baldwin County public school system. Baldwin High School’s Teacher of the Year representative Bradley Hall was not recognized due to personnel reasons.
Organized by the Teacher of the Year Celebration Committee, the ceremony began with a presentation of colors by the high school NJROTC and performance of the national anthem by student Melissa Harrell. School Superintendent Geneva Braziel welcomed those in attendance before a video slide show highlighted each school’s winner.
Administrators recognized the Teacher of the Year from their respective schools. Blandy Hills Elementary School Principal Charlene Thorpe introduced Yvonne Thompson; Creekside Principal Tracy Clark introduced Perdue; Eagle Ridge Elementary School Principal Jeanette Scott introduced Tammy Fietkau; Early Learning Center Director Blanche Lamb introduced LaKathy Baker; Midway Elementary School Principal Antonio Ingram introduced Emily Wilson; and Oak Hill Middle School Principal Linda Ramsey introduced Alicia Jenkins.
“Mrs. Perdue teaches beyond her classroom walls. She exposes her students to many lessons that they cannot get within those walls,” Clark said of Perdue during the ceremony. “Mrs. Perdue believes in teaching more than just academics, she tries to instill in her students how to be positive role models by involving them in many service projects. She builds relationships with her students that provide them with the extra support they need.”
Braziel announced the system winner and presented Perdue with gifts from Captain D’s, Chick-fil-A, LongHorn Steakhouse, Pickle Barrel, McDonald’s, Golden Corral, Coca Cola, Jeanie’s Flower & Gift Shop, Blossoms Florist, Kinetix, Designing Line, Oconee Vendor, Maggie Lane, Monograms & More, Belk, Baldwin Bowling Center, Express Car Wash & Lube and Exchange Bank. Perdue was also awarded with a $500 check from Louie Herron Toyota, $750 check from MidSouth Federal Credit Union and $100 from the Baldwin County School Nutrition Department.
“I feel very spoiled. We all really appreciate those sponsors in the community for showing their appreciation and recognizing how hard we work in our community,” Perdue said. “The administration at Creekside is very supportive. My family has been very supportive of my efforts, including my husband Jared. When I was in high school, my teacher who convinced me to be a teacher was Sandra Worsham; she inspired me to pursue this career.”
Perdue has been teaching in Baldwin County for 10 years. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in early childhood education from Georgia College in 2003, followed by a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern in 2009. She taught one year at the Early Learning Center and four years at Blandy Hills. She has led and sponsored several extracurricular activities in her school such as the school news program, Positive Behavior Support team and student math team.
She has also led a county-wide shoe collection for the past two years, collecting more than 1,000 pairs of shoes each year for the Soles4Souls organization. She has visited Haiti twice in the last six months, and established her own non-profit, L.O.V.E. for Haiti. In addition to challenging her students with academic skills, she also enjoys teaching her students that they can make a difference in the world.
“I work really hard to teach my children about cultural tolerance,” Perdue said. “Our nation is very diverse so it’s important for our students to learn early ... and understand the world outside of Milledgeville and Baldwin County boundaries. I teach them about life in other parts of the world and realize how fortunate we are.”
Perdue will be considered next spring to vie for the title of Georgia Teacher of the Year.
“We’re incredibly proud of her and all she has accomplished and all she will accomplish in the future,” Perdue’s mother Kim Hornsby said after the announcement Monday evening. “We love her and her family is very proud of her.”
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