Teacher named a finalist for GA Teacher of the Year
Pepperell High teacher named a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year
Posted on 03/01/2012
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Alana Ellenburg, a teacher at Pepperell High School and the Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year for 2012, has been named a finalist for the 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Ellenburg was one of ten finalists announced by State Superintendent Dr. John Barge at a news conference held today in Atlanta. Ms. Ellenburg teaches the course ‘High School 101” at Pepperell High. The High School 101 course is taught to freshmen in Floyd County Schools as a part of the Freshman Academy program that seeks to provide a bridge for students from middle school to high school and help them adapt to the heightened expectations and demands of high school life. 

Ellenburg started teaching ‘High School 101” five years ago. ”I really feel that we have developed a program that will sustain these young teens and help them succeed in high school and in life,” she said. High School 101 teaches ninth graders proper study skills, different paths they can take to a high school diploma, the credits needed to graduate, along with life skills that can help in the location of a job and successful in life. “This gives them the basis to better understand who they are, what their strengths are and how they can build on that knowledge to be successful now and in the future,” Ellenburg added. 

Dr. Lynn Plunkett, superintendent of Floyd County Schools, credits Ellenburg with innovations in the High School 101 program. She said, “Ms. Ellenburg has developed a curriculum for High School 101 that is getting students involved in their own education and helping them to take ownership in their academic performance.” Ellenburg also incorporates community resources in her classroom. She works with John Pillsbury, a community coach for the school and a retired Georgia Power executive, to bring business and community leaders into the classroom to share life skills with the young teens in her class. Pillsbury said, “Alana teaches her students the reasons they need to know the material and she shows them the real-world benefits.”

Ellenburg’s successes in High School 101 are now being replicated by the school system and shared with other teachers of the course in Floyd County. Ellenburg said, “I am passionate about teaching this age group because these young adults are at a crucial time in their life and I want to help them find their way to success in high school and in life after high school.”

Ms. Ellenburg has taught for 14 years and all of her teaching career has been at Pepperell High School. She started teaching Health and Fitness and developed the curriculum for a Sports Medicine and First Aid class. She has also taught physical education and weight training. Ellenburg is a graduate of Jacksonville State with undergraduate, masters and EDS degrees. She was a standout softball player in high school and college and has been inducted into the Dixie Softball Hall of Fame. 

Ellenburg will participate in the final selection process over the next several weeks. A panel of judges will conduct video observations and interview each of the finalists. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power in May. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet on June 1 at the Georgia International Convention Center. The 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.