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Clayton State University Announces Teacher Excellence Recognition Initiative

Clayton State University Announces Teacher Excellence Recognition Initiative

Jun 30 2014

Anna Cox of Jonesboro High and Jennifer Henley of Morrow High Named First Recipients

In recognition of the important role that excellent teachers play in the lives of students, ClaytonStateUniversity, along with its Department of Teacher Education, has announced the establishment of the Teacher Excellence Recognition Initiative (TERI). This initiative is designed to annually recognize two high school teachers from Clayton County Public Schools who demonstrate excellence in teaching and exemplify the ClaytonState learning experience; empowering, engaging, inclusive and supportive; in their own classrooms.

Each yearly TERI recipient will receive a $1000 stipend plus $250 to be used for classroom materials. These awards are made possible through the generosity of the Jack and Sherry Hancock Clayton County High School Faculty Recognition Collaborative, in conjunction with the Clayton State University Annual Professorship Program. Jack Hancock is a Clayton State University Foundation board member, and an attorney with the law firm Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP.

“The education of our youth is the key to the success of our nation,” says Hancock.

The winners of the 2014 Teacher Excellence Recognition Initiative awards are Anna Cox of JonesboroHigh School and Jennifer Henley of MorrowHigh School.

"Most teachers do not go into the profession because of the tangible rewards of money or fame. We love teaching and we love watching our students grow and achieve. A thank you note from a parent or an email from a former student has worked the magic of keeping many good teachers going for years,” says Dr. Ruth Caillouet, chair of the Clayton State Department of Teacher Education and professor of English Education. “But, we are very thankful to be able to be a part of this amazing opportunity. The Teacher Excellence Recognition Initiative will reward ClaytonCountyPublic School high school teachers for the truly excellent work they do in the classroom every day."

The selection criteria for the TERI awards speaks volumes towards the excellence of the winners, “Nominees should demonstrate best practices in teaching and will have made a significant contribution to their school and their profession above and beyond the fulfillment of their normal academic responsibilities. The contribution may be in the areas of teaching, service, academic leadership, creative activity and/or scholarly attainment. In addition to possessing an exemplary record of accomplishment and recognition at the institutional or national level, the nominee is expected to have demonstrated the highest standards of good character, academic integrity and institutional leadership. Each nominated teacher should also exhibit strong leadership skills or provide outstanding community service.”

Cox, a Latin teacher and chair of the World Language Department at JonesboroHigh School, is no stranger to ClaytonState. After earning her English degree at the University of Georgia, she became ClaytonState’s very first masters graduate, earning her Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) on Dec. 11, 2008.

While earning a MALS degree and the TERI award from ClaytonState are significant honors, they do not represent Cox’ only notable achievements. Along with her husband and fellow JonesboroHigh School teacher Andrew Cox, she is also the most accomplished Mock Trial coach in the state of Georgia, leading the Jonesboro Mock Trial Team to four State Championships and two National Championships over the years. She is also a former (2007) Clayton County Teacher of the Year.

In her Latin classrooms, Cox is known for not just teaching the language, but also the culture of the ancient world from an historical perspective. Her teaching uses Total Physical Response Story method wherein students learn words and phrases and class is never about book work but empowering students by creating knowledge.

Henley, who teaches 10th, 11thand 12thgrade Social Studies at MorrowHigh School, bases her teaching methods and philosophies around the ideas of Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, meaning that she believes that people learn in various ways. She was introduced to the idea of Multiple Intelligences while earning her Master of Education at GeorgiaStateUniversity in 1997 and, almost 20 years later, it is still the basis for her teaching, since she feels it results in more student engagement.

Henley’s teaching methods have served her well; her students have had some of the highest Advanced Placement scores in ClaytonCounty, including her favorites, United States History and Government and Politics: United States.

The coordinator of the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) at MorrowHigh School, wherein 14 Morrow students have attended GHP over the past nine years, Henley was also chosen earlier this year as the Daughters of the American Revolution U.S. History Teacher of the Year for Georgia.

TERI donor Jack Hancock has more than 30 years of experience in governmental and corporate liability. He is a successful and accomplished trial and appellate lawyer who received his B.B.A. and his J.D. from the University of Georgia. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, serving as legal counsel and chair, and served on the Board of Directors of the Regional Business Coalition.

Nominations for the TERI awards may come from the teachers themselves, a peer, a principal, or a ClaytonStateUniversity faculty member. The award application includes a letter of nomination with a detailed description of outstanding, innovative, and engaging classroom or school-wide practices that positively influence student performance, submitted to the school principal where the teacher is employed. Each high school principal reviews the nominations from his/her school and submits no more than one nomination to the Clayton State University Office of the Provost. A ClaytonState selection committee chosen by the Provost evaluates all nominations and then selects two teachers from the 10 nominations for the award.

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