Fayette’s Teacher of Year: Shaylen Dixon

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Shaylen Dixon. Photo/submitted.

Peachtree City Elementary School third-grade teacher Shaylen Dixon has been named the 2017 Fayette County Teacher of the Year.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said the announcement was made by Superintendent Jody Barrow during the annual Fayette County Teacher of the Year ceremony honoring all 26 school-level teachers of the year. The ceremony was held April 20 at New Hope Baptist Church, South Campus.

“From this pool of teachers, three finalists are selected based on responses provided to an essay-style application. The three finalists are interviewed and observed in the classroom to determine the winner,” said Berry-Dreisbach/

The other two teacher finalists vying for the title were Heather Price, a second-grade teacher at Oak Grove Elementary, and Dr. Tarchell Caruthers, a sixth-grade math, science and literacy teacher at Flat Rock Middle, said Berry-Dreisbach.

“Thank you so much for this incredible honor. I am humbled to be selected, especially knowing the talent surrounding me. Dr. Caruthers and Mrs. Price, congratulations for being recognized for living out your calling so well that kids that encounter you will forever be changed for the better. To all the other teachers of the year, thank you for giving all of who you are to your kids each day. Your life holds a bigger purpose than any of us could ever imagine,” said Dixon as she accepted the honor.

Dixon said when deciding on a career she thought she should be “more than just a teacher.” Her mother was a teacher and she saw the reality behind the job, she felt like she was capable of more. It all came to light for her on a mission trip to Ghana in west Africa where she witnessed communities striving to survive because they all lacked one core thing, knowledge, Berry-Dreisbach explained.

“In my arrogance, I almost missed the point that teaching is not a job, there is no way to be capable of ‘more.’ It is either something you are, or something you aren’t. It can’t be trained, it can’t be taught, because at the core of this ‘job’ are people who are wired to serve others, people who seek to create opportunities for change, and people who realize that knowledge really is a vital component for those around us to reach their full potential. Had I never witnessed the absence of knowledge and education, I doubt I would have ever understood the value of such a calling,” Dixon said.

As Fayette County’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Dixon will represent the school system next year in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

Thanks to the donations from school PTO organizations, and local business and community groups, all 26 school-level teachers of the year received a $50 check from the Fayette County Education Foundation, Berry-Dreisbach said.