Alaina Jones immediately knew what was happening when a crowd of Akers Academy leaders walked through her classroom door with balloons and a bouquet of flowers.
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” she yelled as they came in to surprise her and her students with some exciting news.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, or DECAL, chose Jones as the statewide 2022-23 private Pre-K teacher of the year.
“You are truly so deserving of this special recognition and so much more,” Akers Academy Director Marnie Fuller told Jones as she handed her a gift. “I’m certain that this will open new doors for you where you can share your love and passion for what you do on a broader spectrum.”
Fuller and other school leaders said Jones has taught at Akers Academy, located on North Corners Parkway in Cumming, for several years and has quickly become a family favorite at the school. They said new parents coming in have started to specifically request Jones to be their child’s teacher.
And Jones is always happy to take them in.
“It’s been such a joy to be a teacher [here],” Jones said through tears after the surprise. “I love every day with these kids. They’re amazing.”
DECAL leaders presented Jones with a $3,000 check to spend how she chooses and announced she will later receive another $3,000 for a classroom makeover and supplies for her kiddos.
As the winner of the title, Jones will also serve as an ambassador for Georgia’s Pre-K Program, attending events and meetings throughout the year to model “effective classroom practices.”
Jones said she is excited to take on the role and continue to be there for her students and for students across the state.
“You all are amazing,” Jones told DECAL and Akers Academy leaders. “I love being a Georgia Pre-K teacher.”