Nicole Bartig, who teaches kindergarten at Sarah Smith Elementary, was one of six teachers and two principals chosen for the accolades announced at the Atlanta Speech School in Buckhead. It is the second straight time a Smith kindergarten teacher has won the award. Kenny Kraus was honored in February with one of the 2011 prizes.
“It’s amazing,” Bartig said of her award. “It’s great to be recognized for our school and our community. I feel very privileged and honored.”
The other winners were principals Peter McKnight of South Atlanta School of Law and Social Justice and Evelyn Mobley of West End Academy and teachers Brittany Beaumont (first grade, Springdale Park Elementary), Vanessa Evans (fifth-grade English language arts, KIPP STRIVE Academy), Erik Herndon (orchestra/guitar, Young Middle School), Stephanie Jones (sixth-grade math, KIPP STRIVE Academy) and Bethany Paquette (third- and fourth-grade special education, Drew Charter School).
The honorees had to go through a nine-month selection process to be chosen. Each winner received a $7,500 grant ($3,500 for a school project of their choice, $1,500 for a professional development opportunity and $2,500 for a personal stipend).
Now in her 10th year in education, Bartig is in her fifth at Smith. She was the 2007-08 Teacher of the Year at her former school, Bethesda Elementary. Bartig will use the funds to upgrade her classroom’s technology.
“I’m getting three iPads and five Activslates for the [classroom’s] Promethean Board and they can use it interactively from their seat,” she said. “I’m also getting two digital video cameras to document their progress.
”The Buckhead-based Atlanta Families Foundation, a group of 14 local families, raises the funds for the awards. Foundation board chair Prescott Miller said the nonprofit honors educators for “their commitment” to students.
“What they do for our children day in and day out is a huge challenge,” he said. “It’s encouraging them and lifting them up and giving them a voice in our system.”
This year the foundation has started the Winners Circle, a group of past and present honorees. Miller said it will meet “several times a year” and is a way to identify leaders among the past and present award winners and become a mentoring program. Its long-term goal is to become a think tank for the district, he added.
Superintendent Erroll Davis was one of the event’s speakers.
“Thanks to the honorees no just for what you do but for what you did to create excellence every day. … For those who do not teach, you just need to understand how hard these principals and teachers work,” he said. “Those are very difficult jobs and are very undervalued.”
The foundation is now taking nominations for the 2013 awards.
Information: visit www.atlantafamilies.org.