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Masters in Teaching recognizes seven North Georgia educators

The 2024 Masters in Teaching panel
(AJ Reynolds/Ƶ)

Ƶ honored seven North Georgia educators Thursday, March 28, with the Masters in Teaching award.

The Masters in Teaching award is an annual event that celebrates local educators for their dedication to all areas of education in the Gainesville-Hall County community. The award is a partnership between Featherbone Communiversity and Ƶ, and is part of a series of awards to recognize local talent and leadership.

Christy Todd, , was the guest speaker. She is a music technology teacher from Fayette County and one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.

Todd compared teaching to social media influencing, a popular profession among Generation Z. Born between 1996 and the early 2010s, the majority of Gen Z, or “Zoomers,” are school-aged.

“Teachers are the ultimate influencers,” Todd said. “Teachers change the future when we help students see their potential.” 

She said the things Gen Z looked for in social media influencing, like making connections, serving as a community leader, time off and income, are relative to teaching. Todd said the specific schedule of teaching allows for time off, and the income is similar to but steadier than an average influencer. Additionally, Todd said making a connection is a key factor in being a successful educator, relating teachers to influencers in the classroom and community. 

Todd encouraged teachers just starting out or returning to the classroom to foster connections with their coworkers, too.

“You don’t have to know it all, or do it all. Find those pain points, the things you don’t know how to do, and find a connection with someone who can help you solve that problem,” Todd said. “We’re all here to support each other. This is one of the most rewarding professions you can ever enter and sometimes it’s hard, because as a new teacher you don’t see your influence immediately. It takes a couple of years.”

Ƶ Associate Professor of Education Donna Cherveny was selected as one of this year’s recipients.

“Being recognized as the 2024 Master in Teaching for Ƶ is an honor and a privilege; however this award is not my own,” Cherveny said. “I humbly share it with all of my students, both former and current, and my esteemed colleagues at Ƶ, specifically in the College of Education. I am fortunate to learn right alongside the best each day.”

The event was the 16th Masters in Teaching awards. Gladys Harvey-Peterson, one of the organizers and advising coordinator for the College of Education, said she enjoys seeing the reaction from award winners.

“The award today is not a surprise, but when we initially reach out, it is,” she said. “To see all the amazing things they do as educators … to them, it’s second nature. But it truly is incredible.”

These seven educators were named Masters in Teaching for 2024:

  • Kerry Caron, Lanier Technical College
  • Chassie Corbin, Lakeview Academy
  • Donna Cherveny, Ƶ
  • Andy Jobson, Riverside Preparatory Academy
  • Steven McIntyre, Chestatee High School
  • Hannah Reaume, Gainesville Middle School East
  • Lorraine Villarin, University of North Georgia

Additionally, students from Gainesville and East Hall high schools who took part in the Featherbone Communiversity program were acknowledged for their participation.