2009 Teacher of the Year
Suzie Henderson named Floyd County Teacher of the Year

Suzie HendersonSuzie Henderson, a speech language pathologist at Pepperell Elementary, has been selected as the 2009 Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year. “My kids just call me the speech teacher,” Henderson said as she learned of the honor. Henderson works with students who have developmental difficulties in speech and language. She has taught for 11 years and has spent the last ten at Pepperell Elementary. Henderson received the honor at the October meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education. The board honored all of the school teachers of the year and the finalist for the top honor.

Suzie Henderson’s life experience is what makes her a great teacher. She experienced challenges as a child but made the decision that life held more for her than what could be seen on the surface. “I realized early that I had a choice in life,” Henderson said. “I could choose to stay in my situation or reach for more in life.” She made the decision to turn to education and she hopes to encourage kids to do the same. “My struggles are something that the children can relate to and it lets them see that they also have a choice.” Henderson became a teacher because her experience is something she could give to children. She said, “I wanted to reach kids who are going through the same type of things that I did as I was growing up and help them to know there is more out there for them.”

Henderson teaches students in small groups with similar difficulties and in the regular classroom setting. Teaching in the regular classroom setting is called Inclusion. “When I go into the regular classroom, and that is where I spend much of my time teaching, I work with the classroom teacher to provide the extra resources that my children need but I also provide added benefits for the other students in the class,” she said. “The other kids don’t know who my children are and that is by design as the classroom teacher and I combine to teach in a way that benefits all the students in the class.”

Suzie Henderson lives for the special moments when the light comes on in the eyes of a child. She said, “When you see that light come on and you know you have played a part in giving a child a love of learning, that is the reward I live for as a teacher.”

Henderson was selected as the top teacher for Floyd County Schools from three finalists. The finalists were: Terrell Shaw, a fourth-grade teacher at Armuchee Elementary School, Layne Stone, Spanish teacher at Pepperell Middle School, and Henderson. The finalists were selected by a review committee from the Northwest Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA.) The committee made the selections from written applications submitted by the "Teacher of the Year" representatives from each school in the Floyd County School System.

Mrs. Henderson was selected as Floyd County’s "Teacher of the Year" by a panel made up of retired educators from the Rome/Floyd Retired Teachers Association. The finalists participated in personal interviews and classroom observations as a part of the selection process. For her selection as Floyd County Schools 2009 Teacher of the Year; Suzie Henderson received $500.00, a plaque for her classroom, and a "Teacher of the Year" commemorative display from the Northwest Georgia Credit Union. Each finalist also received $100.00 from Northwest Georgia Credit Union, sponsors of the Floyd County Schools “Teacher of the Year” program.

Suzie Henderson will now represent Floyd County Schools in the Georgia Teacher of the Year program. The Georgia Teacher of the Year will be announced by the Georgia Department of Education in the spring.

Teachers honored as individual school “Teachers of the Year” were: Lee Ann Blanton, Alto Park Elementary; Terrell Shaw, Armuchee Elementary; Ashley Elizabeth Goddard, Armuchee High; Leon Bowers, Armuchee Middle; Kathy Bond, Cave Spring Elementary; Donny Pruitt, Coosa High; Sarah St. Clair, Coosa Middle; Melissa Martin, Floyd County Education Center; Tim Strickland, Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy; Christy Padgett, Garden Lakes Elementary; Laura Ann Burkhalter, Glenwood Primary; Pam Rutland, Johnson Elementary; Amanda Watson, McHenry Primary; Darlene Kay-Johnson, Midway Primary; Beth Early, Model Elementary; Angela Brock, Model High; Alisha Rogers Holtzendorf, Model Middle; Suzie Henderson, Pepperell Elementary; Keith Reedy, Pepperell High; Layne Stone, Pepperell Middle; and Marsha Hannay, Pepperell Primary.