The fifth-grade teacher said she was “shocked and has been completely humbled by the love and support thrown my way.”
“I was born to be a teacher,” Strickland said during the event Oct. 4. “There is no other job for me. Teaching is my passion and I love what I do. The favorite part is when I am interacting with the kids. It is the most challenging as well.”
Strickland, who was one of the 33 school-level teachers of the year, began her teaching career in 2008.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University, and a master’s degree from the University of West Georgia, where she received the Master Teachers Award in spring of 2011.
The Teacher of the Year judges described the atmosphere in Strickland’s classroom with one word — “positive,” said Douglas County School Superintendent Gordon Pritz.
The judges further stated that they were impressed with Strickland’s genuine and passionate love of the teaching profession and that the educator’s use of positive reinforcement was outstanding, Pritz said.
Strickland, who will marry her fiancé David McEntee on Friday, was showered with a bounty of gifts from some 75 local businesses, including use of a 2013 Chevrolet for an entire year from Thornton Chevrolet, a $2,500 check from Foxhall Resort and Sporting Club, spa treatments, grocery and restaurant gift cards and more.
She was one of three finalists for the coveted title, including Middle School Teacher of the Year Tara Campbell, who teaches gifted language arts at Fairplay Middle School; and High School Teacher of the Year D.J. McConnell, band director at his alma mater, Lithia Springs High School.
Brief biographies were read to recognize each of the 33 individual school Teachers of the Year.
Also recognized were school board members Janet Kelley, Sam Haskell and Mike Miller, retired Douglas County educators and former Teachers of the Year, including 2011-12 Douglas County Teacher of the Year, Jaslyn Dukes from Stewart Middle School.
“It is a privilege for us to have this opportunity to recognize Douglas County’s exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled teachers,” Pritz said.
“Each of them inspires students to learn; they have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues; and these teachers play an active and useful role in the community as well as in our schools.”