Finalists for 2016 Teacher of the Year
Finalists selected for Floyd County Teacher of the Year
Posted on 09/09/2015
TOY photos
Three teachers have been selected as finalists for the 2016 Teacher of the Year recognition program for Floyd County Schools. The three finalists are: Pam Jones, a special education teacher at Pepperell High School; Dr. Brian Swanagan, a math and computer science teacher at the Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy; and Dr. Tabatha Tierce, a second-grade teacher of math and science at Cave Spring Elementary School.

Pam Jones
 teaches grades nine through twelve special education children at Pepperell High School.  She has taught for over 36 years having spent most of that time in Alabama.  Jones has been teaching in Floyd County Schools for the last ten years and this is her second year at Pepperell High. Mrs. Jones is a graduate of Jacksonville State University.  She received a masters degree in specific learning disabilities from the University of Alabama and a specialist degree in mild learning handicaps from Jacksonville State. 

"My greatest accomplishment is the success of my students," stated Jones. "For me, one of the most important things has been establishing a relationship with each student so they know I care about them."  Jones added, "My reward is a smile from a successful child in the classroom, seeing a light come on in a student's eye when they understand a concept we have worked on intensely, or a tear from a mother when her child achieves a goal."

Dr. Brian Swanagan
 teaches juniors and seniors at Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy.  He began teaching in 2008 at Winder-Barrow High School before moving to Floyd County in his second year in the classroom.  His first stop was Model High School teaching mathematics.  He stayed at Model until the academic program was added at the College and Career Academy in 2013 and he was recruited to teach in the school's math and computer science program. Swanagan is a graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in applied mathematics.  He received a masters, specialist and doctorate from the University of Georgia in mathematics education. 

Dr. Swanagan works with technical program teachers at the Career Academy to bring math to life for his students. "I worked with the welding teacher to help students build a solar reflector they called a "Death Ray" to help them understand how parabolas are used in the real world to gather and disperse heat, light, sound or radio waves," stated Swanagan. "In class, students built smaller versions and cooked hot dogs."  He added, "Now, my students are working on a solar powered "tiny house" cabin where students use geometry, algebra and trigonometry to optimize construction."

Swanagan has also taught math in the summer Governor's Honors Program and teaches mathematics at Shorter University.  In 2014, he was honored with an Innovation in Teaching award by Governor Nathan Deal.  

Dr. Tabatha Tierce teaches math and science to second graders at Cave Spring Elementary School.  She is in her ninth year at Cave Spring where she was a student as a child.  She has taught English language arts in fourth and fifth grade at Cave Spring and Language arts and math at Coosa Middle School. Dr. Tierce received a middle grades education degree from Berry College, a masters degree in school leadership from Jacksonville State University, and a specialist degree and doctorate in teacher leadership 
from Walden University.  

"Being a student at Cave Spring prepared me to be the teacher I am today in this school that provides amazing opportunities for students," Dr Tierce stated. "My passion and fire for this profession stems directly from the passion I witnessed from my teachers and the entire community that made me believe I could do anything."  Tierce understands that the sense of community behind her success must be utilized for her children today. She said,"A school and its community are a powerful team and that is why I have worked to create a "village" to support the children in my classroom." Dr. Tierce presented a plan to the Cave Spring Town Council to begin a community Farmer's Market in downtown Cave Spring. She said,"As an extension of the market, students in my class have grown products and sold them at the market to gain hands-on, real-world supply and demand lessons." 

The finalists for Floyd County Teacher of the Year were selected by a review committee made up of members of the Rome/Floyd Retired Educators Association. The committee made the selections from written applications submitted by the teacher of the year representatives from each school in the Floyd County school system. Questions asked in the application were taken from the Georgia "Teacher of the Year" application form.  The review committee will also make the final selection of Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools from the three finalists.

The three top teachers will continue in the selection process to determine the 2016 Teacher of the Year for Floyd County Schools. The process will include a personal interview and a classroom observation of each teacher working with students. The interviews will be held on Tuesday, September 15 at the Floyd County Board of Education Office. The selection process will conclude on Tuesday, September 22 with classroom observations at the schools. 

The 2016 Teacher of the Year will be honored on October 6 at 6:00 p.m. during the regular monthly meeting of the Floyd County Board of Education. The Floyd County Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Credit Union.