2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)
Teacher, Subject, System, School
Tamika N. Ball, Mathematics
Atlanta Public Schools, D.M. Therrell School of Health Sciences and Research
Brandon A. Mitchell, Physical and Environmental Science
Barrow County, Winder-Barrow High
Terrie L. Ponder, Social Studies
Carrollton City, Carrollton Junior High
Jeanine Wetherington, Gifted K-5
Colquitt County, Norman Park Elementary
Shannon Pollitz, Eighth Grade Gifted English Language Arts
Floyd County, Pepperell Middle
Barbara Rosolino, English Language Arts, AP Literature and Composition
Henry County, Eagle’s Landing High
David DuBose, Advanced Music, Band and Instrumental Music
Marietta City, Marietta High (Runner-up)
Dr. Polly S. Holder, Spanish
Walton County, Walnut Grove High
Tanya Smith, Physical Science and Gifted/Accelerated Chemistry
Wayne County, Wayne County High
Jemelleh Coes, a special education English language arts and reading teacher from Langston Chapel Middle School, has been named the 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Coes was named the winner of the award at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet held Friday night at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Coes will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.
"Jemelleh Coes is going to be a wonderful representative of the teaching profession in Georgia," State School Superintendent John Barge said. “As the daughter of immigrants from Guyana, Ms. Coes worked hard to become a teacher and make a difference in the life of a child. Now she will have the opportunity to share her story and passion with many others.”
Driven by wanting a career that would help others, Coes became a teacher at Langston Chapel Middle after graduating from Georgia Southern University. She teaches English language arts, resource language arts and remediation English language arts.
In her application, Coes stated, "You have a choice. Choose wisely. This is one of the most important lessons that I hope to instill in the life of every student that I come in contact with. When teaching students, it is important that lessons are choice-driven, authentically student-centered, and goal-oriented.”
Coes is the site coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Center at Langston Chapel, an afterschool program that serves 100 of the school’s most at-risk students and was funded by a three-year, $350,000 federal grant.
Coes is the youngest member of LCMS’s staff, where she has spent all five years of her career. Her expertise in co-teaching techniques, which have become a model at her campus, led her peers to initially select her as Langston’s top teacher last spring. She was selected as Bulloch County's Teacher of the Year in October.
In addition, on the first and third Saturday of each month, you’ll find her mentoring 30 area middle school girls to encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering and math, as part of the Delta Academy program. She also works with Ordered Steps Mentoring which assists a girls’ home in Bulloch County.
Coes is also involved with the Statesboro Kiwanis and Toastmasters clubs. Once a month, Coes leads scrapbooking projects with children in the community who have never been exposed, and don’t have the means, to create crafting projects.
As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Coes will represent Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and possibly conducting workshops and programs for educators. She will also compete for the 2014 National Teacher of the Year.
Bulloch County’s only other Georgia Teacher of the Year recipient was Julie Lanier in 1985. Previous Bulloch County top-10 state finalists in the last six years were Tiffany Todd of Southeast Bulloch High School and Ashlee Mitchell, who served at Stilson Elementary at the time of her honor.
The Georgia Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by United Healthcare.