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Henry County Schools Names Six Semifinalists for 2023 Teacher of the Year

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Henry County Schools today named six semifinalists in the running to be named the district’s 2023 Teacher of the Year.

The biggest celebration of teachers in Henry County Schools will take place Thursday, Oct. 5, as HCS will honor representatives across its 52 schools and academies before naming one the district’s top educator.

“Every year, we look forward to this grand celebration of the very best and brightest among our thousands of talented and dedicated educators,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “All of our teachers are winning for kids every day in classrooms across Henry County. Our Teacher of the Year will truly be a champion among champions.”

HCS’ Teacher of the Year ceremony, presented by Georgia United Credit Union, is an annual celebration of the hard work and accomplishments of each school’s top teacher.

After a rigorous application process, six semifinalists were chosen and will be narrowed further to three finalists on the night of the event before a single district-wide winner is announced. 

This year’s six semifinalists are listed below, along with testimonials from their school leaders.

  • Heather Pouliot, a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teacher at Ola Elementary

“Ms. Pouliot is an exceptional educator and teacher leader, and we could not be more proud to recognize her as Ola Elementary’s Teacher of the Year. She has done an incredible job advancing STEM education at OES, engaging students in wacky labs, sponsoring our Garden Club, transforming our campus into a flight school and space camp, and serving on the HCS STEM Advisory Council. Ms. Pouliot’s enthusiasm for learning and teaching have enhanced our school culture, and we are so grateful for her leadership.”

  • Tarita Reeves, a math Early Intervention Program (EIP) teacher at Woodland Elementary

“Ms. Reeves is the epitome of a professional educator. She challenges herself, as well as her students, to perform at the highest level. Ms. Reeves creates engaging, meaningful, and innovative learning opportunities for her students. Her top priority is for her classroom to be a personalized and high-achieving learning environment for all of her students. Ms. Reeves is adored and highly respected by students, parents, and colleagues.”

  • Dr. Misty Givens, a science teacher Woodland Middle School

“Dr. Givens is an educator who is passionate about student learning. She creates learning experiences for students that they will remember for a lifetime, in and outside of the classroom.  She exudes passion for science and has spearheaded school-wide activities around science, technology, engineering, and math. She not only educates, but also exemplifies respect, empathy, and high expectations for each of her students.”

  • Rekita Thornhill, a social studies teacher at Impact Academy Middle School

“Ms. Thornhill builds positive relationships with students and colleagues by constantly staying in contact with parents and families. She is the quiet storm that generously gives her time and talent. Ms. Thornhill also provides effective and engaging standards-based instruction in her class. She has the gift of making Georgia studies relevant and fun for her students, who love attending her class. Ms. Thornhill is a team player and is willing to help wherever she is needed.”

  • Rhonda Lindsey, a high school English/language arts (ELA) teacher at Impact Academy High School

“Ms. Lindsey cares for students first and teaches English second. She is very considerate to students as people. She is an innovative instructor and engages students in the love of literature and reading. Ms. Lindsey is very thoughtful in her planning for instruction that sets students up for success.”

  • Richard Postell, an economics teacher at Dutchtown High School

“Mr. Postell has been a member of the Dutchtown ‘Ohana’ since 2016. He goes above and beyond serving as a teacher leader. Mr. Postell is a senior sponsor and assistant football coach. He has served as an economics teacher since his arrival at Dutchtown High School and builds relationships with all stakeholders.”

One of these six semifinalists will be named HCS’ 2023 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 5 and receive a package of gifts and prizes, as well as the opportunity to represent the district in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

The ceremony will take place at the Henry County Schools Performing Arts Center – McDonough in front of an audience of invited guests and sponsors. Community members may watch live on the district’s YouTube Channel.

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 students to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.