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CHS MATH TEACHER KEITH NAMED DISTRICT TEACHER OF THE YEAR

CHS math teacher Thomas “Red” Keith was named Carrollton City Schools Teacher of the Year at the Carrollton Board of Education meeting. Four teachers were up for consideration: From left, Emmanuel Reddish, CJHS language arts teacher; Keith; Karen Warren, CES special education preschool teacher; and Kym Hilbert, CMS math teacher. All were recognized as outstanding examples who set the gold standard for teaching excellence.

CARROLLTON, GA –  A high school math teacher whose teaching strategy focuses on providing constant support before the introduction of variables was named the Carrollton City Schools 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
 

Thomas “Red” Keith, a teacher and coach at Carrollton High School, was named the district representative and will now compete at the state level for Georgia Teacher of the Year.
 

Keith, along with Carrollton Junior High language arts teacher Emmanuel Reddish, Carrollton Middle School math teacher Kym Hilbert and Carrollton Elementary School special education teacher Karen Warren, were recognized as school-level Teachers of the Year before the district announcement was made by Board Chairman Dr. James C. Pope.
 

“You can’t go wrong when you hire someone like Thomas Keith,” said CHS Principal David Brooks. “This guy is special. He is a great motivator and works hard to develop relationships with all kids.”
 

Keith teaches coordinate algebra exclusively, considered one of the most challenging courses for many high school students. Brooks said Keith’s loud-but-loving, enthusiastic style resonates with all students, but especially students who struggle with math.

On the Georgia Milestones statewide testing platform, Keith’s coordinate algebra students outperformed the state average all three years the test has been administered.
 

Yet Keith, a Franklin native and former Heard County football standout who went on to play at the collegiate level at Central Michigan University, focuses on reaching the students on a personal level first, opening the door for the math to come second.

“My goal is to inspire and help young men and women to become better people first,” he noted in his remarks following his selection. “Then we work on the math student just as a lot of my former teachers did for me.”
 

One of his former teachers is Steve Martin, a long-time Carrollton math teacher who suggested to then-CHS Principal Mark Albertus to make the hire. Keith also serves as a linebacker coach for the Trojans where he continues to build up student athletes.

“I always teach my kids the power of one,” he said, referring not to a mathematical exponent but to the individual sense of responsibility and commitment. Keith, who was born in poverty and has seen first-hand the results of poor decision-making by family and friends, credits his former teachers and mentors for helping him break the cycle.
 

Though having the opportunity to go to college was impactful in his life, it was not the only catalyst to push him in another direction.

“It was my life struggles that taught me,” he said. “It was being brought up in poverty, losing my mother and father, growing up with my siblings going in and out of prison.”
 

While being named not only the CHS Teacher of the Year but the representative for the district will be fond memories for the math teacher, it still pales in comparison to his day-to-day motivation:
 

“All I want to do is sow a seed,” he said. “And I tell my kids, I don’t know how long when the water hits the seed, but I know one thing – the seeds that I sow into those kids will sprout up and bloom into a flower.”
 

KAREN WARREN: CES Teacher of the Year
 

Karen Warren works with the district’s youngest learners, focusing on children 3 to 5 years old who need services before they enter the regular school environment.
 

She took a hiatus from teaching to rear her three boys into young men before returning to the classroom about 10 years ago. After her return, she’s been named the school TOTY twice, quite an accomplishment in its own right. The school’s obvious appreciation and respect for Warren as a teacher was formed during a reciprocal relationship.
 

“During the 20 cumulative years our three sons were students at Carrollton City Schools, I enjoyed many volunteer opportunities,” said Warren. “Whether participating as a room mother, reading tutor, or band booster, I saw firsthand the commitment of the faculty and staff at each school. When I made the decision to return to teaching, I never considered working anywhere else. The system already felt like family.”

Her favorite teaching memory?
 

“The first year I returned to teaching, I taught an alternative reading program to students who were struggling readers,” she said. “One of my students lived in extreme poverty. Each morning, he would visit with me until the tardy bell rang. The morning school released for Christmas break that year, he handed me a brown paper bag. Inside was an angel. He had crafted his angel by using rubber bands to attach a scrap of white cloth to an empty tissue roll. Damian’s angel has adorned our mantel every Christmas since.”
 

KYM HILBERT: CMS Teacher of the Year
 

Kym Hilbert is a product of Carrollton City Schools and was excited to return home as a teacher when a teaching position became available.
 

“I began teaching in the Carroll County school district,” she said. “When the opportunity came open for me to come to Carrollton City Schools, I did not hesitate. I wanted to give back to a system that had given so much to me.”
 

Hilbert, a sixth grade math teacher at Carrollton Middle School, chose to become a teacher because she recognized a need for versatility in the classroom.
 

“I became a teacher because my personal learning style is very different,” she said. “I do not like when learning is placed in box, so I like to give my students the opportunity to explore and learn, the way they choose to.”
 

Her tactics must work, as her favorite teaching memory attests.
 

“During my second year teaching I was the only seventh grade math teacher in our building besides the gifted math teacher,” Hilbert said. “My students scored the highest in math out of all the other middle schools in Carroll County. I made them believe they could and they did!”

EMMANUEL REDDISH: CJHS language arts teacher
 

Emmanuel Reddish teaches eighth grade language arts at Carrollton Junior High School, but that’s not all. He channels his creative energy into several extracurricular programs as sponsor that allows students to tap into their own creative side. He started the school’s Creative Arts Club, sponsors the gospel choir, organized the school’s black history production and spearheaded a talent show competition.
 

Reddish also serves on the school leadership team and is the language arts department chair. CJHS Principal Travis Thomaston notes Reddish serves as a model for other teachers.
 

“When you see him in the classroom, you then understand what a good teacher looks like,” said Thomaston.

Reddish notes it may be a trite statement, but he wanted to become a teacher to change lives.
 

“I became a teacher because I felt like it was a career in which I could truly make a difference and have a positive influence on the lives of young people each day,” he said. “I wanted to be an advocate for students and help them be whatever they desired to become. I wanted everyone to achieve their goals and know that they had the opportunity to do so if they only believed in themselves. I would be their support system and help to guide them along the way.”
 

At the Sept. 12 school board meeting, four community sponsors presented monetary awards to the school-level and district Teachers of the Year. The school-level sponsors were J. Smith Lanier, Ozier Apparel and Morris Auto Sales. The district sponsor was John B. Jackson Law Firm.
 

“I want to thank our community partners for joining us in this recognition program,” said Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent. “We really appreciate their participation and demonstrated appreciation for not only our Teachers of the Year, but all employees.” 

CHS math teacher Thomas “Red” Keith was named Carrollton City Schools Teacher of the Year at the Carrollton Board of Education meeting. Four teachers were up for consideration: From left, Emmanuel Reddish, CJHS language arts teacher; Keith; Karen Warren, CES special education preschool teacher; and Kym Hilbert, CMS math teacher. All were recognized as outstanding examples who set the gold standard for teaching excellence.

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