The three finalists are Kim Baker, a middle grades teacher at the Floyd County Education Center; Allison Goggans, a history teacher at Pepperell High School; and Shannon Pollitz, an eighth grade gifted language arts teacher at Pepperell Middle School.
Baker, who has been teaching for 11 years, instructs sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students in all subjects at the Floyd County Education Center.
Baker graduated from Shorter University with a middle grades education degree and received her masters in middle grades education from Berry College.
She started her teaching career in a private Catholic school for a few months before beginning her career in Floyd County Schools at Model Middle School. She joined the staff of the Floyd County Education Center in 2007. She works with students who have made poor decisions resulting in disciplinary assignment from their home schools to the Floyd County Education Center.
“Our school has the stigma that all the ‘bad’ kids are sent to us,” she wrote in her Teacher of the Year application. “What those who say this don’t realize is that these are not ‘bad kids’ but just young people who have made bad choices.”
Baker said in her application that she values the moments when her students understand she cares about them.
“Rewarding moments are when students or parents contact me and tell me how much they appreciate me helping them to get back on track academically or personally,” Baker wrote.
Allison Goggans, a 10th grade teacher at Pepperell High School, teaches World History, Honors World History and Advanced Placement European History.
Goggans received a social science education degree and a masters in adult education from the University of Georgia. She also earned an educational administration degree from Lincoln Memorial University. Goggans began her teaching career at Buford High School in 1998 and moved to Pepperell High in 2004.
Goggans said she loves the story telling element of history.
“A certain individual (from history) may be mentioned in class, and it will go in one ear and out the other,” Goggans wrote in her application. “However, if you can tell a story about the person, then you have the students’ attention.”
Shannon Pollitz teaches seventh grade language arts and eighth grade gifted language arts at Pepperell Middle School.
Though she began her teaching career in Floyd County Schools in 2001 at Model Middle School, she spent a year teaching middle school students in Casablanca, Morocco, and three years at South Central Middle School in Emerson before returning home. Pollitz returned to Floyd County and joined the staff at Pepperell Middle School in 2010.
She has a middle grades education degree from the University of Georgia, a masters in educational leadership from Kennesaw State University, and she has just completed her specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University.
She said she uses her experiences living and traveling abroad to inspire her students.
“I want to expand my students’ worldviews,” she wrote in her application. “There is a sign in my classroom that says, ‘Where will your education take you?’ Beside it is a world map with arrows to all the places I have traveled or lived and pictures of me at those places. One of my goals is to show students that there is life beyond the small bubble in which they live.”
The Floyd County Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Credit Union.