South Forsyth Middle School math teacher Kim Schreier has been named as the 2019 Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year.
At the annual Celebration of Excellence held on Friday, March 8, Schreier and dozens of other educators, groups, organizations and community leaders were honored by the school system and lauded for the work each does to further education in the community.
2019 Celebration of Excellence Awards
• Don Hendricks Partnership Award: Andean Chevrolet
• Gold Program of the Year: Forsyth County Fire Department
• Silver Program of the Year: Johnathan Brockman Law and Specialty Appliances Orthodontic Laboratory
• Volunteer of the Year Awards: Derek Brooks, and Eddie and Delores Montero
• Friend of the Year Award: First Redeemer Church
• Mentor of the Year Award: Troy Embrey
Taking the stage in front of nearly 500 peers and community members, Schreier said she was honored, shocked and overwhelmed by the experience, congratulating all the other finalists and semifinalists.
“This is quite an overwhelming feeling,” Schreier said. “When I look out into this room, I see the passion that everyone has for their students and for their job, and I’m so glad we were able to get acknowledged for that passion today.”
Forsyth County 2019 Teacher of the Year finalists included:
• Ronda Slaughter — first-grade teacher, Matt Elementary School
• Jackie Shirley — special education pre-K, Silver City Elementary School
• Jessica Nicholson — fifth-grade teacher, Whitlow Elementary School
• Donna Jackson — sixth-grade social studies, North Forsyth Middle School
• Amy Dykes — science teacher, North Forsyth High School
• Julie Hunt — English teacher, South Forsyth High School
Like the other Forsyth County teachers of the year before her, in addition to the award itself and hundreds of different gifts, Schreier was also presented with a new car from local dealership Andean Chevrolet.
Before handing over the keys and paperwork to a new Chevrolet Equinox that Schreier will use for her term as teacher of the year, dealership Fixed Operations Director Joseph Otwell spoke to the crowd about his family’s commitment to education, quoting the Dalai Lama, “When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.”
“I believe that has been shown greatly through all of the teachers today,” Otwell said. “For students to learn and be engaged, the passion of their teacher has to show through.”
In her words to the crowd after receiving her award, Schreier also thanked what she called her “support system” who she said have shaped her into the teacher she is today: her husband, Jonathan Schreier, an educator at South Forsyth High School; her parents; and her fellow colleagues at South Forsyth Middle School.
“Thank you for continuing to support my love in my job 12 years later, you help me balance my job with our family and help keep me grounded,” she said. “I couldn’t ask to work for a better school.”
Schreier, a graduate of the University of Georgia, came to the district in 2014 when she began working at South.
She said that throughout her 12 years as an educator she has continued to return to the idea of how important a passionate educator can play in the life of a child.
“Each of us can remember a special teacher that impacted us growing up, these important teachers shaped us into the people we are today,” she said. “As I look out to this group of such amazing teachers that fill this room, I can’t help but think about the number of lives that this room has impacted.
“There are students sitting in classrooms, at colleges and tackling their first jobs right now thankful for the way that you made them feel.”
In his closing remarks, Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Jeff Bearden told the crowd how proud he was and stating that the system is successful because of its resources and supports.
“Many of you have heard me say before that the best schools and the best school systems are the ones where home, school and community work together as partners,” Bearden said. “I can’t think of any other school district that is more blessed than ours.”
But before exiting the stage, Schreier left the gathered crowd with a challenge of sorts, telling them to keep encouraging their colleagues and inspiring their kids.
“It’s that extra smile, the words of encouragement and times when you went out of your way to make them feel special that they remember,” she said. “If anyone can do it, you can.”