February 23, 2005

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Terrance Calloway Student Assistant, Dr. Julia M. Reffel, Dept. of Early Childhood and Reading Education (229) 333-5929

Georgia Teacher of the Year Visits VSU College of Education

Chase Puckett, Georgia Teacher of the Year, recently visited Valdosta State University's College of Education. Puckett's visit was sponsored by the Valdosta State University Student Council of the Georgia Reading Association.

Puckett's talk focused on teaching as a career, on-going challenges in education, and why he chose his field. Puckett gave a motivational address to over 70 College of Education students and faculty. The ?No Child Left Behind? law was also a topic covered by the award winning teacher. Puckett told the audience that this law is about accountability. He remarked that this accountability begins not at the national, state, or school board level, but in the difference a teacher makes with each and every child in his/her classroom.

Selected as the top teacher of the year in the state of Georgia, Puckett teaches eighth grade Language Arts and Reading and is department chair in Screven County. He holds a Master's degree in middle grades education and an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership. Puckett is also certified in gifted education. He is designated as a Model teacher in the Reading Renaissance program and serves as co-director of the school's nationally known "A Walk through Time" project, a living history study presented to over 3000 visitors each year. Finally, he volunteers with various youth organizations in his community.

Georgia's ?Teacher of the Year? Program annually spotlights the teaching profession and recognizes outstanding public school teachers at the local and state levels. The program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. The prestigious program focuses attention on excellence in teaching.

The Georgia Teacher of the Year takes a one-year sabbatical and works directly with the Georgia Department of Education. During this time he or she speaks to various groups throughout the state. The representative also conducts staff development activities for teachers in his or her area of expertise. The first Georgia Teacher of the Year was selected in 1971.

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