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November 9--  A graduate of Vidalia High School and Georgia Southern University is the Teacher of the Year in the Toombs County School System.

burkettWhitney Burkett is a sixth grade language arts teacher at Toombs County Middle School.  This is her third year of teaching there and the first year she was eligible to be considered for the award, "It means a lot to me.  I never thought I would get teacher of the year after only three years of teaching, but I've had a lot of compliments from parents and students and other faculty members and it makes your heart feel good," she said.

She chose teaching because she enjoys being around students and says her tenth grade English teacher, Mrs. Betty Fulton, was her main inspiration to pursue teaching language arts.

Even though she's only 25 years old and hasn't been out of high school that long, she sees changes, "It's very different.  I have to keep up with their lingo and the songs they like and what's popular now because it's still different from when I was in school even though it hasn't been that many years."

And while technology provides more teaching tools today, Ms. Burkett says one thing is the same, the role of parents, "It's extremely important.  If we meet with a parent, or they know we're going to meet with parents, their demeanor changes a lot because accountability comes into play," she notes.

toombsteachersWhitney is joined by Teachers of the Year in other schools including (L-R):

Jessica Toole, Lyons Primary School;

Hollie Braddy, Lyons Upper Elementary School;

Andrea Kelley, Toombs Central Elementary School

and Joey Montford, Toombs County High School.