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Teacher of the Year

2013-2014: MCHS and MCSS Teacher of the Year:  Paxton Crosby
Mrs. Crosby has been an Early Childhood Education Pathway teacher at MCHS for six years.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgia Southern University and graduated Magna Cum Laude.  She believes the main factor that influenced her to become a teacher is her family’s strong belief in the field of education as a career.  She believes, as an educator, “learning is an ongoing and positive opportunity for the students as well as the teachers…effective teachers continuously encourage student achievement, strive to increase engagement of student learners and provide students with a developmentally appropriate learning environment.”  Mrs. Crosby has served in a variety of roles at MCHS:  Statistician for the football program, volunteer field goal kicker coach, Assistant Coach for the Varsity Boys and Girls Tennis teams, Varsity Cross Country Coach, Homecoming Committee Chairman, Prom Committee Chairman, and a volunteer sports supervisor for basketball, football, and softball games.  Along with her FCCLA adviser duties, she also serves on her school’s Better Seeking Team and the system’s Curriculum Coordinating Council (CCC) committee.   

2012-2013 Teacher of the Year-Erin Davidson     
Mrs. Davidson has been a 9th grade language arts teacher at MCHS for five years.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University and her Master’s degree from Western Governor’s University.  She recently completed the Advanced Placement (AP) training in English Literature.  She states “I choose to teach English language arts to high school students in the middle of nowhere because language is the fundamental, divine gift that shapes nations, inspires souls, and drives us to excel…”.  She also believes that the ability to communicate effectively opens doors to opportunities that otherwise would remain closed.  Mrs. Davidson insists that her students respond accordingly when faced with confusion:  be willing to admit when something is not working, research answers to questions or problems, and try new things.  She continually searches for ways to improve instruction, lessons, classroom environment, data collection and analysis, and meeting the emotional, social, and cognitive needs of her students.  Professionally, Mrs. Davidson attended the NCTE and ALAN annual conferences in New York, where she assisted with a presentation of Aaron Levy’s young adult drama.  She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Magna Cum Laude National Honors Scholars Society, Golden Key International Honours Society, PAGE, ACTE, and GAE.  Overall, Mrs. Davidson feels blessed to work within a system that encourages the open exchange of ideas from all stake-holders and to work for an administration that is forward-thinking in its approach to addressing our students’ needs.

2011-2012 Teacher of the Year:  Azmathunnissa Azeem
Mrs. Azeem’s goal in life has been to “choose a career where she could help young minds understand the value of an education and instill a sense of how a proper education was directly proportional to the quality of life one could lead.”  She motivates her students to push past their comfort zone and leads by example.  Raised in a very orthodox Muslim culture in India, she witnessed females being denied a proper education.  She has seen what a lack of education does to women and wants to be a positive role model for students.  Mrs. Azeem believes that it is a teacher’s responsibility to mold a child’s future and make him/her a responsible, productive citizen. 

Mrs. Azeem received her undergraduate degrees and Master’s degree from the University in India in the areas of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and Physical Science.  She is currently pursuing her Specialist’s degree in Science through Columbus State University.  She has been a teacher for the past 21 years, teaching at Mitchell County High School for the past four years. She is a member of PAGE, ACTE, and an active volunteer in her community.  Last summer, Mrs. Azeem received Advanced Placement training in the areas of Chemistry and Physics.   According to Mrs. Azeem, “Life rewards those who let their actions rise above their excuses.  We, as educations, should expect excellence through hard work and strength of character from all of our students.”

2010-2011 MCHS Teacher of the Year/MCSS Teacher of the Year:  Lillibel Wingate

Ms. Wingate was born and raised in Mitchell County.  Upon graduating from college, she had the opportunity to travel abroad and work with many professionals, as well as high school and college students in various businesses.  She then worked as the Executive Director for the Flint River Arts Council, but missed being a part of the food service industry.  It was during this time that the position for a Culinary Arts teacher became available.  It was a perfect fit and life had prepared her for this career.  Ms. Wingate has been the Culinary Arts teacher at MCHS since 2004.  She received a B.S. in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University and certification in Professional Foods from the state of Georgia.

Ms. Wingate believes that her greatest accomplishment in education is being able to successfully work with students that tend to be challenged in the areas of academics and/or discipline.  In her classroom, all students experience success!  She has had many students who were not performing well in their academic classes find success in the Culinary Arts program and go on to complete the Culinary programs at Albany Tech and Le Cordon Bleu.  Ms. Wingate is also the advisor to the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student organization, which currently has 73 members.  Her students have donated money and time to Kids Against Hunger in Cairo, raised money for food gift certificates for the elderly at Thanksgiving, donated to March of Dimes, and participated in trash pick-ups within the community. Ms. Wingate believes that “If I am chosen as the Georgia State Teacher of the Year, it won’t be because I’m this great and wonderful teacher.  It will be because I have a great and wonderful support system with great students.  We all work together, and quiet honestly, they make me look good!”


2009-2010 Teacher of the Year

Thirzah Greene-   2009-2010 Mitchell County High School Teacher of the Year

Thirzah received her Bachelors degree in Spanish from Florida State University.  She has been a high school Spanish teacher in the Mitchell County School System for 15 years.

She believes that in order to strengthen and improve the teaching profession, we as teachers have to strengthen and improve ourselves.  Our willingness to advance and learn will not only better ourselves, but show our students that learning is a life-long goal and not just something one does between ages 5 and 18.  When teaching students, it’s always important to let them know that teachers really do care about them.  She shares life experiences with them, in the Spanish language, that might help them succeed not only in the educational world but in the real-world as well.

Thomas Gilbert - 2008-2009 Mitchell County High School Teacher of the Year

Mr. Tom Gilbert graduated from Ft. Valley High School.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army and retired as Master Sergeant with 33 years of service serving active duty with a Psychological Operations unit,  where he attended Airborne training and a Mapping unit in Germany.  He finished his military career as a parachute rigger in an US Army Reserve Airdrop Supply Unit.  Mr. Gilbert participated in Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001-02.  In 1994, he graduated from Valdosta State University and taught science at Pelham High School from 1994-2001.  In 2002, he began teaching at Mitchell County High School.  Mr. Gilbert is married to Jacqueline, and they have three children and eight grandchildren.  He enjoys the interaction with his students as they learn new concepts in A.P. Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology.  He also enjoys seeing the information sink in and when understanding comes into their eyes. Mr. Gilbert said, “The best thing I have had happen, many times, is having former students tell me how much they got out of my classes.  I even had one young lady tell me that my class inspired her to enter the veterinary field.  My greatest accomplishment is in setting the learning example for my students to have a happy, successful life after high school.”