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Carter TOTY

(L to R): Dr. Garrett Wilcox, Superintendent of Schools; Rhett Carter, Teacher of the Year; Dr. Sandy Reid, Assistant Superintendent; and Eric McDonald, Principal J.R. Trippe Middle School

A Vidalia High School Alum and 25-year teaching veteran has been named the Teacher of the Year for the Vidalia City School System. Rhett Carter has been teaching 22 of those 25 years at J.R. Trippe Middle School, and on Monday, the sixth-grade science teacher was recognized in front of his 1st-period class by Vidalia City School Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sandy Reid.

"I think the first word that comes to mind is humbling and honored," said Carter, who had his family and students surrounding him during the presentation. "it's just one of those things that you just don't think about. That's not why you get up every morning, to get recognized. But I am honored.

The Vidalia High School grad has not only been a constant presence in the Trippe classroom and hallways, but he has also served his Alma Mater as an Assistant Baseball Coach for the past 21 years and is the only player/coach to have been a part of Vidalia's three State Baseball Championships; Carter was quick to mention his High School Coach and mentor, Greg James. "I've had so many great mentors. Working with Greg James all those years, learning from him and watching how he responded to adversity as well as how he treated people. Then Dr. Reid and a lot of people that's come through before me and laid a good foundation. I'm just thrilled to be part of it."

Carter "is an example of everything that is great about JRT," said Trippe Principal Eric McDonald. "He meets all the qualifications and checks all the boxes," McDonald continued. "He's a great teammate, who does a lot of mentoring, with not only students, but also young teachers. He gives unselfishly of his time and experience and he is outstanding in the classroom. The kids just absolutely love him. When he was announced as our (Trippe) Teacher of the Year, the students lined the hallway and did a big chant for him. He's been a father figure for many, and genuinely cares about the students."

Married to his wife Cynthia for 24 years, the Carters have three children: Ty, Larsen, and Stella Rose. Carter has not only taught countless students through his 25-year career but also taught his two boys, and next year, he may have the opportunity to teach his daughter, "It's mind-boggling to think about, you know? To think about how many students have come through my classroom and then have the opportunity to teach my boys and, hopefully, my daughter: it's just crazy.

Vidalia Assistant Superintendent Dr. Sandy Reid, who was Carter's Principal for seven years, says she was not surprised by Carter's selection. "Rhett gives 100% plus in everything he does," said Reid. "You could tell by the interview process for the Teacher of the Year that he has bought into the modems and standards that we have implemented over the past several years and that he embraces the process of not only making the students better but also making sure that he gets better each day, even though he's been teaching for 25-years.

Carter wrapped up his thoughts with what he says keeps him going daily: "I want these kids to be productive citizens of Vidalia. I want them to stick around here. I want them to be part of our community. That should not fall on just the teachers, but parents and other adults in the community must know that we all have a role. But my main goal is that I want Vidalia to be a better place ten or twenty years from now because of what our educators and teachers are pumping into them daily.

Carter and the other finalists will be recognized at the November Vidalia Board of Education meeting, where they will be presented with a cash award and plaque honoring their selection.

In addition to Carter,  Teachers of the Year from the other Vidalia City School System schools are:

VHS - Margaret Pournelle - Pournelle, who has spent her entire 20-year teaching career at Vidalia High School in the English Department, was also the school's 2011/2012 Teacher of The Year and the Star Teacher for the 2021/22 school year.

A 2004 graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Ms. Pournelle earned her Master's Degree in Education in 2005 from Troy State University.

SDM – Ruby Bryant – Bryant is an 18-year veteran Teacher, and has been at Sally D. Meadows for the past five years. A 1991 graduate of Vidalia Comprehensive High School and 2005 graduate of BPC, Mrs. Bryant received a Master's Degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2008.

Bryant has one daughter, Kayla Cason, who resides in Knoxville, Tennessee, and is married to Tim Bryant.

JDD - Sonya Allmond – Allmond has been teaching Kindergarten and 2nd Grade for 27 years at J.D. Dickerson. Married to Arty Allmond, the Allmonds have three children: Tucker, Abigail, and Lucy.

Mrs. Allmond attended Georgia Southern University and graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She completed her student teaching at J. D. Dickerson Primary School in the spring of 1996 and, was offered a position for the fall of that year, and has been at JDD ever since. 

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