APS Names 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year
Atlanta Public Schools 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year Rita Simmons and Superintendent Erroll B. Davis, Jr. Photo By Scott C. King, APS
ATLANTA – Rita Simmons, gifted and talented teacher of students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Cleveland Avenue Elementary School, was named the Atlanta Public Schools 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year during an awards ceremony October 17 at Benjamin E. Mays High School.
Simmons will go on to compete for the Georgia 2015 Teacher of the Year next spring. Atlanta Public Schools is home 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Dr. Jadun McCarthy; 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist, Elisha Gray; and 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist Tamika N. Ball.
Simmons received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Florida A&M State University. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in instructional technology from Georgia Southern University. Simmons’ career in education began in Chicago at Westside Preparatory School. After relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, Simmons decided to continue her love for teaching by starting a consulting business specializing in school-reform-model professional development for teachers. She has taught in Cobb County as a fifth-grade teacher and transitioned in 2005 as a language arts and social studies teacher at World Changers Academy. An advocate for children, Simmons is also the founder and CEO of a mentoring organization for girls. She is a passionate educator and visionary, and is committed to making a difference beyond the walls of her classroom. Simmons believes that teachers embody the very essence of what it means to educate children.
Finalists for this year’s award included Nathaniel Snyder, Middle School Teacher of the Year from KIPP Ways Academy and Danielle Gilley Costarides, High School Teacher of the Year from North Atlanta High School. Candidates for APS Teacher of the Year are nominated by their respective schools. APS then selects an elementary, middle school and high school teacher of the year from a list of semi-finalists to compete for the districtwide honor.
To see the photo gallery from this year’s ceremony, visit http://www.apsk12.org/media/index.html
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Gate City Bar Association Holds Hall of Fame Gala
Atlanta's Gate City Bar Association held it's annual Hall Of Fame Gala and induction ceremony on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Buckhead. The event was sold out, with more than 600 guests for the semi-formal affair. The featured speaker was the Honorable Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the State of Massachusetts. Following his address, the Honorable Michael E. Hancock, Timothy Jefferson Sr., Esq., and W. Ray Pearsons, Esq. were inducted into the Gate City Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes members of the legal community that have made significant contributions to the legal profession and community. This year Gate City received the generous commitment and support of five platinum sponsors: Alston & Bird LLP, Forrest B. Johnson & Associates, Grady Health Systems, King & Spalding LLP, and The Chestnut Firm. Five law students and a paralegal were awarded scholarships. Proceeds from the Gala will support and fund the ongoing community programs and scholarships of the organization. This year's President in Lynnette D. Espy-Williams, a partner at the law form of Cozen O'Connor. The Gala Chairperson was Cheryl F. Turner, senior counsel, The Coca Cola Company. Pictured (left to right): Lynnette D. Espy-Williams, President Gate City Bar Association, The Honorable Deval L. Patrick, Governor State of Massachusetts, and Cheryl F. Turner, Hall of Fame Gala Chair. Photo/Cutline By Horace Henry
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Dr. Durley Receives ‘Lifetime Achievement’ Award
Dr. Gerald L. Durley is pictured (at podium) with Iman Plemon El Amin, who presented Dr. Durley with the award.
Dr. Gerald L. Durley accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Islamic Speakers Bureau at the sold-out “Building Bridges Awards Dinner” on Saturday evening (Nov. 2). Each year, the ISB presents this award to a leader in metro Atlanta who has worked tirelessly to bring about positive change in his or her community.
Dr. Durley, pastor emeritus of Atlanta’s Providence Missionary Baptist Church, has for many years, as minister, counselor, and environmentalist, been deeply involved in the global warming climate change discussions across the country, including a forum involving Atlanta clergy to speak about religion and science on Earth Day.
For the last five years, Dr. Durley has traveled throughout the Middle East with Muslims, Christians, and Jews to better understand the differences and similarities among people, cultures and beliefs. Working across faith lines to promote interfaith relations, he has been a vocal, outspoken advocate for assisting groups and individuals to communicate across faith disciplines.