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James Forsythe Named Henry County Schools Teacher of the Year

Submission Date: October 23, 2020

Release Date:  For Immediate Release

Contact: J.D. Hardin, 770-957-6601 ext. 161,

(Release # 0026-10-2020)

James Forsythe Named Henry County Schools Teacher of the Year

James Forsythe Named Henry County Schools Teacher of the Year

Exceptional Student Education teacher from Luella High School wins top teacher honor

HENRY COUNTY, GA – James Forsythe, an Exceptional Student Education teacher at Luella High School, was named the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Henry County Schools. The announcement was made during the Teacher of the Year Ceremony on Thursday, October 22 at the Henry County Performing Arts Center – Fairview.

Forsythe, a 12-year veteran teacher in Henry County Schools, was named a finalist during the evening event along with Melanie Kellam (McDonough Middle School) and Tabatha Wesley (Timber Ridge Elementary).

There were several sponsors for this year’s event, including Eagles Landing Health supporting the event as a presenting sponsor.  This top sponsor, along with several other local businesses helped support the event with either gifts or donations for the semifinalists, finalists, and the overall winner.

Forsythe received cash and prizes, including funds for professional development conferences, totaling over $5,000.  The two finalists received cash and prizes in excess of $2,000.  Semifinalists Laura Lamb (Rock Spring Elementary), Debbie Sechrist (Dutchtown Middle School), and Yetta Smith (Hampton High School) received items valued at over $1,000.

The announcement came as a welcomed surprise by Forsythe.

“I'm thankful for the recognition as Teacher of the Year for Henry County Schools,” said Forsythe. “When you truly love what you do and dedicate yourself to doing your best, I believe everyone wins in the end.”

All 52 Teachers of the Year from the respective schools in the district were recognized with trophies, flowers, and other items provided by Eagles Landing Health, Georgia United Credit Union, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Chick-fil-A, Serendipity, and Great American Cookie.

Superintendent of Schools Mary Elizabeth Davis shared remarks with honorees and special guests, while the 2019 HCS Teacher of the Year, Janaé Cohen from Red Oak Elementary, shared reflections and inspiration from her time as the district’s top teacher.

Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis noted how special this year’s event was in relation to all that teachers have endured over the course of the pandemic.

“The teachers represented here tonight carry the unique distinction of this recognition during one of the most challenging times in education,” said Davis.  “The 52 teachers we celebrated can do anything, and we are fortunate to have them as a part of the Henry County Schools family.  We are exceptionally proud of Mr. Forsythe and his impact on the young lives of his ESE students at Luella High School.”

Attendance for this year’s event was limited due to social distancing restrictions, but there was a live stream for viewers to watch thanks to support from SoundAround Audio & Video.  Guests in attendance for the event were treated to musical performances by the Union Grove High School Chamber Orchestra and a solo performance by Alexandra Robinson from McDonough High School.

The sponsors for the evening were recognized for their generous contributions, and the list of sponsors is as follows:

Eagles Landing Health – Presenting Sponsor

Georgia United Credit Union

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Shane’s Rib Shack

Victory Trophies

SoundAround Audio & Video

Southeast Staging, Inc.


Serendipity of McDonough

Southern Farmhouse Home Collection

Southern Belle Farm

Georgian Gallery Custom Framing

Holiday Inn Express of McDonough

A T-Shirt Company

Main Street McDonough


A-Maz-Ing T-Shirts & Beyond

State Farm – Brian Brakefield, Agent


Southern Grace Hospice

Bellamy Strickland Chevrolet Buick GMC

Southern Roots Tavern & Eatery

T&T Meats

Scoops Ice Cream

Black Tie Formal Wear

For more information on Henry County Schools, visit



Photo: (L-R) - Jerry Smith, Principal (Luella High School); Mary Elizabeth Davis, Superintendent; Holly Cobb, BOE Vice-Chair (Dist. 3); James Forsythe, 2020 HCS Teacher of the Year; Sophe Pope, BOE Member (Dist. 4); Annette Edwards, BOE Member (Dist. 5).