The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has selected Spring Hill Elementary Pre-K teacher Tricia Sanders as one of three finalists statewide under consideration for Georgia Pre-K Program Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018.
Sanders is one of three finalists selected from public school system nominations made across the state. The winner will be named during Georgia’s Pre-K Week in October. Georgia’s Pre-K project directors and Pre-K teachers nominated the finalists, said school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.
“I really think that the thing that sets me apart from the teacher that I would have been years ago is that I truly appreciate, and am grateful for, the responsibility that comes with being an educator. It is exciting to think that I have the ability to wake up each and every day and make someone’s life better. I get to be part of a team of educators who are excited to make a difference in the world. How many people get to say that? I do, and I do not take it for granted,” said Sanders.
Berry-Dreisbach said Amy Jacobs, commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program and Instructional Supports, and Susan Adams, assistant commissioner, made the announcement on May 9 during a special visit to the school.
“Sanders has been teaching Pre-K for two years, all of them at Spring Hill Elementary. Her route to teaching is a non-traditional one,” Berry-Dreisbach said. “Due to finances, she had to quit college (she was majoring in special education) and go into the workforce. Years later when her youngest child began Pre-K, the desire to teach came back to Sanders, and she became a paraprofessional at Oak Grove Elementary. She was encouraged by other teachers and administrators at Oak Grove to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education, so she went back to school to earn her degree and teacher certification.”
Sanders is certified in both general and special education. She said her experience in both areas of education gives her a perspective that allows her to have a classroom that runs smoothly for a large mixture of students, said Berry-Dreisbach.