Burch Elementary’s Wamsley named Fayette’s Teacher of the Year

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Michael Wamsley. Photo/Submitted.
Michael Wamsley. Photo/Submitted.

After being recognized as a Teacher of the Year finalist, Burch Elementary School third grade teacher Michael Wamsley on April 11 was named Fayette County’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.

Servant leadership is the heart of what drives Michael Wamsley to inspire, challenge, and create a passion for learning in his classroom every day – it is no wonder why he was named the 2019 Fayette County Teacher of the Year, said school system spokesperson Nia Washington.

Washington said from a total of 26 teachers, Wamsley ranked top three to earn his place as a finalist in the Fayette County Teacher of the Year competition; math teacher Bob Spiller of Fayette County High School and English teacher Jillian Bowen of Starr’s Mill High School were the two other finalists. All three finalists were interviewed and observed in their classroom by a judging panel which consists of two retired educators and last year’s winner, Natalia Nizker.

Wamsley, Spiller, and Bowen, along with 23 of Fayette County’s finest teachers, were honored at the annual Teacher of the Year ceremony.

“Wow, it is completely overwhelming to be up here surrounded by so many incredible educators. It is a privilege to work with such dedicated and incredible educators who have made a world of difference within their communities, and who continue to inspire their students and peers alike. It is due to their creativity, passion, and hard work that our students realize their potential in a world with unlimited possibilities,” Wamsley said on receiving the honor.

Wamsley said teaching is a group effort that would not be possible without the overwhelming support of his colleagues, family, and countless mentors. He said the driving force behind all of this is his students.

“You amaze and inspire me to be a better teacher. For without your openness, your enthusiasm, and your desire, all of these ideas and dreams would be for naught. You are the reason I show up each day,” Wamsley said.

With 16 years as an educator, Wamsley’s students have changed over the years, but his message remains the same, “Education is about unity. There is no “us versus them” in public education, we are all united with a common goal of serving our students. The future depends on how well we prepare our students today.”

As Fayette County’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, Wamsley 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.

The annual Fayette County Teacher of the Year ceremony took place on April 11 at New Hope Baptist Church, South Campus.