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Forsyth County school system welcomes its new teachers
Laura Martin, a new marketing teacher and DECA sponsor at Forsyth Central High School, looks over some posters for her classroom before hanging them up during new teacher orientation. - photo by Micah Green

THE GRIND: Central's Logan Howard

Film By Micah Green Edited by Joshua Sutton

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At a glance

* New Forsyth County Schools educators: 319

* States represented: Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas

* Counties represented: Cherokee, Cobb, Dawson, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall and Henry

* State colleges include: University of North Georgia, University of Georgia


Source: Forsyth County Schools

CUMMING — Some have been teaching for years. Others will step into their first classroom as the boss next Thursday. They total 319, and they’re all different people with different teaching styles, hailing from all over the country.

But they have one thing in common: they’re new educators to the Forsyth County school system for the 2015-16 school year.

Superintendent Jeffrey Bearden, about to start his second year at the helm of the district, welcomed them Tuesday morning during the annual New Educator Orientation at West Forsyth High School.

“We have 28 paraprofessionals appointed to teachers, 42 of you were former Forsyth County substitutes and 27 are returning Forsyth County teachers,” Bearden said. “We have a number of new educators who are coming from 16 states outside of Georgia, with the most coming from North Carolina. And we also have five married couples in our group.”

The district hired 48 teachers directly from college, most of whom are graduates of the University of North Georgia (14) and the University of Georgia (13).

There is also a group of teachers coming to Forsyth from other school systems in Georgia, with the most coming from Fulton (43) and Gwinnett (31). Resumes also included the systems in neighboring Cherokee, Dawson and Hall counties.

Orientation for new educators in the county has historically been a time to gather every school and to introduce them to the district’s highlights.

The top three 2015 Teachers of the Year were spotlighted as model teachers before the group was broken down by school level for workshops and teaching and learning breakout sessions.

“We were one of the few districts in the Southeast to continue to grow during the recession, and this summer we had an explosion of newcomers registering for school,” Bearden said. “We are projected to be home to over 44,000 students this school year.

“Education is now the fastest-growing business, next to construction, in Forsyth County.”

He credited the system’s capability to expand to “numerous bond and [sales tax] referendums to fund our construction program.”

“By 2018, we will have a new elementary school, a new middle school and a new high school added to our family … The five current high schools will have received additions and renovations that will allow us to better prepare students to be college and career ready,” he said.

And that’s the goal for teachers in Forsyth.

“Every decision we make,” he said, “from school board to teacher to bus driver, we always ask, ‘is it right for the student?’

“We really do consider our staff, our students and their family members of our family.”