By Amy Wenk
Dawn Bramlett, kindergarten teacher at Woodland Charter Elementary School, was Sandy Springs Kiwanis Club’s pick for Teacher of the Year. Bramlett also was named Teacher of the Year by the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs, along with the following seven teachers:
Megan Feldman, Dunwoody Springs Charter Elementary School
Teaches: Second grade.
Years teaching: 6
Favorite thing about teaching: “My favorite part of teaching is experiencing the growth of each child throughout the school year. This time of year is truly a celebration of how much students have learned and developed.”
Anna Cajiga, Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School
Teaches: Fourth grade.
Years teaching: 2
Favorite thing about teaching: “I absolutely love that my job allows me to play a part in shaping what children become and how they view themselves. I love looking at the growth my students make throughout the year. It is amazing to see where they started at the beginning of the year and where they end up. The best thing about teaching is knowing that each year, I play a role in the lives of more than 30 different children – 30 children who have the potential to do amazing things. I don’t think there is any other profession where I could experience anything as satisfying!”
Lib Roberts, High Point Elementary School
Teaches: Kindergarten, Four-grade and fifth-grade reading, as well as second-grade math, for the Early Intervention Program that teaches students who failed to meet expectations on the CRCT or may be at risk to fail and need extra classroom support.
Years teaching: 10
Favorite thing about teaching: “My favorite thing about teaching math particularly is watching a student who thinks he is ‘bad’ in math unlock the natural curiosity and joy of problem solving that all students have and seeing the smiles and joy when the he/she first realizes that in fact he/she can do it! I love student groans when it is time to change classes because he/she is loving math! I recently kept a group of fifth graders all day who were prevented from attending a field trip. We had so much fun with math that they begged for more and when it was time to send them off to PE, they begged to stay! I love when my kindergarteners first realize they can read! I had a student assigned to me in January who had not been able to blend sounds all year. After a week using multisensory methods, he blended his first word! He screamed when he realized it and shouted ‘I can read! I can read!’ The next day, he came to class and said, ‘Mrs. Roberts, you know that thing I told you yesterday about reading … well I can still read today!’ That is joy in its purest form! That is what I love about teaching!”
Kelly Grothe, Heards Ferry Elementary School
Teaches: Second grade.
Years teaching: 16
Favorite thing about teaching: “My favorite thing about teaching is watching children have those ‘aha’ moments. Whether it takes five minutes or five days, I love watching their faces light up when they ‘get it.’ I never get tired of witnessing their excitement and pride as they conquer new concepts and skills.”
Royanne McWaters-Baer, Ridgeview Charter Middle School
Teaches: Seventh and eighth-grade English Language Arts.
Years teaching: Five.
Favorite thing about teaching: “I am passionate about teaching, even though I have only taught for five years. For me, it is a calling that I discovered after staying home with my children. I completed my Masters of Arts in Teaching at Clemson University and began teaching middle school in Greenville, S.C. Many have questioned why I chose to teach ‘middle-schoolers,’ and I just laugh. Teaching middle school is fun! Each day is a new adventure and never boring! And I laugh a lot! My biggest blessing is being able to teach at Ridgeview Charter School. Ridgeview is a gem, hidden in a neighborhood off Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. It is an International Baccalaureate school that is not just a school but a family. We take a holistic view of our students, helping them develop into contributing members of a greater society. I am so proud to be a part of the Ridgeview family!”
Brandi Herbert, Riverwood International Charter School
Teaches: Ninth-grade magnet and 11th-grade International Baccalaureate literature.
Years teaching: 7
Favorite thing about teaching: “My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the success of my students. I enjoy watching students achieve high levels of success on their essays and standardized testing. My reward to teaching is when a student comments that although I was a tough and demanding teacher, they really learned a lot or improved their language skills.”
Jacqueline Protos, North Springs Charter High School
Teaches: Ninth-grade honors literature and 11th-grade American literature.
Years teaching: 4
Favorite thing about teaching: “My favorite thing about teaching is challenging my students to make connections. My students connect with each other through classroom activities and discussion, they connect to the literature through in-depth study of the standards, and they connect to their communities as they work on social action research projects and service. I’m privileged and honored to work with such a great group of students and educators.”