Her principal, Sheila Miller, echoed the judges’ comments.
“Everything is always positive,” said the Beulah Elementary School principal, who has the good fortune to have the 2012-2013 Douglas County Teacher of the Year leading one of the school’s fifth-grade classrooms.
She will now compete for the state Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced next June.
What sets McEntee apart?
“The climate she creates,” Miller said. “The students are so comfortable. Her differentiation — the students are getting what they need for their own level. She just draws their attention in because she’s so bubbly.”
In a classroom of 23, this seems like a tall order for any educator, but McEntee appears to have classroom management down to a science.
In what her mother, Pamela, described as “the most exciting week of your life,” McEntee was named school system teacher of the year on Oct. 4, then became the wife of David McEntee a mere week later.
The couple lives in Temple with their five furry children — three dogs and two cats — which she calls “my loves.”
McEntee, 26, received her undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University and master’s degree from the University of West Georgia.
She began teaching in 2008 at Villa Rica Elementary School and is in her third year of teaching at Beulah Elementary.
She grew up in Newnan in what she describes — without elaborating — as a “difficult home life.”
She chose teaching as a way to make an impact in children’s lives.
“When I got to about fifth grade, I decided that I wanted to help kids whose home life was a lot like mine,” McEntee said. “I originally wanted to go into domestic law, but by the time I hit high school, I realized you could make an impact by teaching.”
With rapid-fire teaching and an incredible energy level in the classroom, she moves her fifth-grade students almost seamlessly from center to center.
She uses the words “quickly” and “quietly” frequently in the classroom.
“I try to take a different route,” she explained. “It is so easy for a teacher to say the negative. You have to readjust your thinking and say the positive.”
She chose fifth grade because students have started to exhibit style and character, she explained.
“Kids in fifth grade are a lot of fun,” she said. “At that age, you can make an impact on them. You can interact with them. They still are at an age where they love their teacher, but have become more independent.”
Above all, McEntee loves her kids — and tells them so. She uses proactive management by setting the expectation for her students.
“If I tell them everything I want them to do before, then they will know what I expect of them.”