Finalists for Teacher of the Year are selected
Three finalists are named for system's top teacher
Posted on 09/06/2013
Three teachers have been selected as finalists for the 2014 Teacher of the Year recognition program for Floyd County Schools. The three finalists are: Tony Hays, a social studies teacher at Model Middle School; Paige Reece, a biology teacher at Model High School; and Tanya Welchel, an English/language arts teacher at Johnson Elementary School.

Tony Hays
teaches sixth-grade social studies at Model Middle School.  He has taught for 17 years and has been at Model Middle for the last 16. Mr. Hays is a graduate of Southeastern University with a secondary education degree in social studies.  He received a masters degree in social studies from Jacksonville State and an education specialist degree in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University.  "I believe my greatest contribution is instilling in my students a love and passion for social studies," stated Hays. "I absolutely love hearing my students excitedly talk to their friends about World War II, the Cold War or relations with Cuba."

Paige Reece
teaches Honors and AP Biology at Model High School.  She began her teaching career at Model in 2006.  Reece is a graduate of Shorter University with a degree in environmental science/conservation biology.  She received her masters from Jacksonville State University in general science education.  Reece did not begin her working career as a teacher.  She spent the first year after graduation working as a staff scientist for an environmental consulting company.  She said, "God blessed me with may opportunities to gain experience and great adventures before leading me back to the classroom."  Reece added, "Now I have the challenge of making cell organelles and photosynthesis just as interesting as the latest video game or Smartphone app."

Tanya Welchel is a fifth-grade English/language arts teacher at Johnson Elementary.  She has taught pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade, as well as, fifth.  She received a business administration degree and a masters in early childhood education from 
Georgia State University.  She earned an educational leadership add-on from Jacksonville State and a specialist in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University.  Like Reece, Welchel began a career other than education after college.  She said, "My first job out of college was as an office manager and I was miserable."  After several years in the business world, she returned to college to become a teacher. "Teaching has allowed me to see the look of pride in the eyes of a child when they realize they have learned to read," she said. "At the end of the day, I know I have contributed a small part in that child's educational journey."

The finalists were selected by a review committee from the Rome/Floyd Retired Educators Association. 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. Questions asked in the application were taken from the Georgia "Teacher of the Year" application form.

The three top teachers will continue in the selection process to determine the 2014 Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year. The process will include a personal interview and a classroom observation of each teacher working with students. The interviews will be held on Friday, September 13, 2013 at the Floyd County Board of Education Office on Riverside Parkway. The selection process will conclude on Thursday, September 19 with classroom observations. The finalists will be evaluated by a selection committee made up of members of the Floyd/Rome Retired Teachers Association.

The 2014 Floyd County Schools Teacher of the Year will be honored on October 10, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. during the regular monthly meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education. The Floyd County Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Credit Union.