2010 Teacher of the Year
Janda Canalis selected 2010 Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year

Janda CanalisJanda Kaye Canalis, a healthcare science teacher at Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy, has been selected as the 2010 Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year. Canalis began her professional life as a nurse in the intensive care unit where her passion for teaching patients to manage their health led her to pursue teaching. Now she combines her life experiences to teach the next generation of health care workers. “I saw this as the perfect fit for the culmination of my teaching career,” Canalis said. “I can combine my love for teaching and my love for health care to maybe change the field of health care by sending out wonderfully empathetic, caring individuals.” Canalis has taught for 19 years and has spent the last three teaching health care science students in Floyd County Schools. Canalis received the Teacher of the Year 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 at the meeting.

Janda Canalis has taught students in elementary school, middle school, high school and college. Her experience gives her insight into where her students have been, where they are and what they will need for the future. “Having taught at the college level, I understand what my high school students will need as they move to the next level,” Canalis said. Imparting knowledge is not her only goal in the classroom. Canalis also understands her students must know she genuinely cares for them. “It is not enough to just teach to secure learning, there must be a relationship there,” Canalis said. ”If the student can’t find relevance in the material presented in the class, perhaps the student may find relevance in the relationship between the student and the teacher.” 

In the class observed by the Teacher of the Year selection committee, Canalis was teaching her students to put themselves into the position of an elderly person they may be caring for in the future. The students put lotion on their arms to make them stiff and less flexible; they wore glasses to simulate the vision of a senior citizen, and wore gloves with cotton in the fingers to impair their sense of touch. She then simulated what a nurse might say to a patient by asking them to take a group of pill bottles and take a pink pill. The students had problems opening the bottles with the gloves, and with the special glasses on, many could not distinguish the color of the different pills in the bottles. “Now you understand how a patient sees something as very difficult that we take for granted,” she said. “Think about that when you are talking to your patients – put yourself in their shoes for a moment.” She shows her aspiring health care workers that it takes more than medical knowledge to be a good care giver. “There are many highlights in my day but what makes me smile all the way home is when students leave my class and they are not in a hurry to go,” Canalis said, “My highlights are when a student says something that lets me know that I have touched something inside.”

Janda Kaye Canalis has been a healthcare science instructor at the Floyd County College & Career Academy since 2007. During her career she has taught science to second through sixth-grades at the elementary school at Berry College and also taught in Scotland County Schools. She has been a teacher since 1989. After high school, Canalis pursued a career in nursing and worked for ten years in cardiac critical care. She holds bachelor degrees in nursing from Kirkwood College and in education from St. Andrews College. She has a masters in education from Berry College. Canalis also holds Gifted Education Certification K-12 from St. Andrews College and Middle Childhood Generalist Certification.

Canalis was selected as the top teacher for Floyd County Schools from three finalists. The finalists were: Judy Myers, a third-grade teacher at Armuchee Elementary School, Mary John Hendrix, a sixth-grade earth science teacher at Pepperell Middle School, and Canalis. The finalists were selected by a review committee from the Northwest Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA.) The RESA review 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. Canalis was selected as Floyd County’s "Teacher of the Year" by a selection 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 2010 Teacher of the Year; Janda Canalis 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, sponsor of the Floyd County Schools “Teacher of the Year” recognition.

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

Teachers honored at the meeting as individual school “Teachers of the Year” were: Gail Pitts George, Alto Park Elementary; Judy Myers, Armuchee Elementary; Steven A. Coleman, Armuchee High; Mary Stuart Ratledge, Armuchee Middle; Shelton Brown , Cave Spring Elementary; Carolyn E. Rowland, Coosa High; Amber Leigh Selman, Coosa Middle; Kimberley Baker, Floyd County Education Center; Janda Kaye Canalis, Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy; Emily Threlkeld , Garden Lakes Elementary; Katherine Urquhart, Glenwood Primary; Holly Sutton , Johnson Elementary; Erica Hyde, McHenry Primary; Rachel Margaret Harrison, Midway Primary; Jan S. Cassidy, Model Elementary; Miriam McGhee, Model High; G. Howard Hubler, Model Middle; Janie Shiflett, Pepperell Elementary; Linda H. Casey , Pepperell High; Mary John Hendrix, Pepperell Middle; and LeAnne Shiflett Landers, Pepperell.