2014 Teacher of the Year
Model Middle's Tony Hays is named 2014 Teacher of the Year
Posted on 10/10/2013
Tony HaysTony Hays, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Model Middle School, was named the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools at the October Floyd County Board of Education meeting held on Thursday, October 10, 2013. Floyd's new top teacher may teach middle school because sixth grade was such a special time in his own life.  "From sixth grade on, I absolutely loved school," Hays said. "I had some great teachers who instilled in me a love for learning - particularly for history and the social sciences."  Hays also loves the unpredictability of sixth graders. "You never know what is going to happen next," he said. "These kids have tremendous energy that just needs to be harnessed and used in learning activities."

Hays is in his eighteenth year of teaching and all but one of those has been at Model Middle School.  He loves working with young students and getting them off to a great start on their learning journey in social studies.  "As a sixth grade teacher, I want to build an excitement in them for learning history and social studies that will propel them to success in high school and beyond."  He builds excitement and participation in his class by attempting to connect with each child. "I talk to students before and after class, in the hallways, and at lunch to learn more about their interests," Hays said. "It is amazing what you can get children to do for you, if you just take a little interest in them and pay attention." 

The students in Tony Hays' class are quick to point out that his class is a fun place to learn. "Mr. Hays is always coming up with fun ways for us to learn," said sixth-grader Parker Stone. "Whether he is telling us a story or we are playing a game, we have fun while we learn!" A classmate A. J. Woods added, "He comes up with tricky ways to help us learn new words and definitions that I can remember." Sixth-grader Camden Chapman added that Mr. Hays' stories are a highlight of class for her, "I like his stories because they help me to remember facts." Hays sees the teens responding to his attempts to make history come to life.  "I try to capture their interest with stories about little known facts or people involved in historic events."  He added, "I call the little story breaks, Story Time with Mr. Hays, and the kids seem to really like and respond them."   

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."

Hays was selected for the Teacher of the Year honor by a review committee from the Rome/Floyd Retired Educators Association. He 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.

The Teacher of the Year program in Floyd County Schools is sponsored by Northwest Georgia Credit Union. The organization provides a $100 gift check to each finalist in the teacher recognition program and a $500 gift check to the Teacher of the Year. Northwest Georgia Credit Union has sponsored the system Teacher of the Year recognition program for more than 16 years.

Hays; Paige Reece, an AP biology teacher at Model High School; and Tanya Welchel, a fifth-grade teacher at Johnson Elementary School were the finalist for the 2014 
Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools .

Local School teachers also honored at the October board meeting were: Andrea Moore, Armuchee Elementary; Leah Young, Armuchee High;  Deborah Childs, Cave Spring Elementary; Christopher Parker, Coosa Middle; Matt Vick, Floyd County Schools College & Career Academy; Krista Dillard, Garden Lakes Elementary; Emily Blanton, Glenwood Primary; Tanya Welchel, Johnson Elementary; Christina Clayton, McHenry Primary; Kitty Beard, Midway Primary; Abby Bradley, Model Elementary (now teaching at McHenry Primary); Paige Reece, Model High; Tony Hays, Model Middle; Margaret Bagwell, Pepperell Primary; Sara Bright, Pepperell Middle; and Jonathan Ingram, Pepperell High.  Teachers selected for Alto Park Elementary, Armuchee Middle, Coosa High and Pepperell Elementary retired or left the school system at the end of last school year.