Hundreds of new Forsyth County teachers flooded the halls and grounds of Denmark High School this week, all taking part in the school district’s annual New Educator Orientation Day.
According to Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden, more than 350 new educators attended the event, along with a host of county business partners and community leaders. Bearden called the opening of two new high schools and the hiring of so many new educators highly significant to the community.
"It's just a really exciting day for our school system," Bearden said.
The event also afforded the school system one of its first opportunities to show the public Denmark High School and the amenities it offers, including a state-of-the-art auditorium, huge grounds, an equestrian center and athletic stadium.
Bearden said that they hold the event each year to meet and welcome incoming teachers, but also to make sure that each is fully compatible with the Forsyth County Schools System’s set of values.
"The message we want to give today to all of our new staff members is to make sure they understand that our business is a people business. It’s a relationship business,” Bearden said. “We want them to understand from the very beginning that they are part of a family.”
One new teacher, Brandy Pittman, who will be teaching seventh-grade science and social studies at Riverwatch Middle School this year, said that she’s already feeling that family spirit after the reception at Denmark.
"I was super impressed when I came here. This is a beautiful new school that they are opening up this year," Pittman said. "And I just felt so welcome and blessed to be here."
Pittman and her family moved to Forsyth County from Knoxville Tenn., so her kids could attend the county’s reputable schools. But after seeing how good the system was for teachers, Pittman decided to come out of retirement and start teaching again.
"We were researching schools for my own children and Forsyth County has an absolutely wonderful reputation, so we decided to move here for our own children,” she said. ”Obviously as a teacher I thought it'd be a wonderful place for me to work as well."
So far Pittman said that she has high hopes for the district, hoping to learn more and grow from other Forsyth County teachers.
"I'm so excited to be here, and this is a great county to work for, so I'm really excited to be here," she said.
Another new staff member, Patrick Jones, who will coach football at Denmark, said that he came to the district from Newton County for the people already at Denmark. Jones said that having head coach Terry Crowder at the school made his decision easy.
“Anyone who knows him, or has been around him, or that's worked for him, they say nothing but good things about him,” Jones said. "He definitely provides a platform for his assistant coaches to someday branch off and be head coaches themselves."
He added that after meeting Denmark principal Heather Gordy he knew that he had made the right decision.
"It didn't take long after my first conversation with her to realize what type of leader she is," Jones said.
Jones said that before considering this new job, he hadn't heard much about the county's reputation, but when he started doing research all he heard was good news.
“They are just light years ahead of the curve … when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom,” Jones said. “Forsyth is one of those counties that puts their money where their mouth is, especially when it comes to education.”