The 2022-2023 teachers of the year from both the Hall County School District and Gainesville City Schools were honored Wednesday afternoon during an annual luncheon sponsored by the Melvin Douglas and Victoria Kay Ivester Foundation.
The luncheon, which was held at the Oaks at Lanier College and Career Academy, saw both teachers receive a $10,000 check from the Ivester Foundation. Hall County's teacher of the year was Susan Howard from Lanier Elementary School, and Gainesville's teacher of the year was Cynthia Kinsey from New Holland Knowledge Academy.
Partners with both districts, including the University of North Georgia, Brenau University, Lanier Technical College and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce celebrated Howard and Kinsey, along with faculty, family, board members and the Ivester Foundation.
"I think everybody in America is molded by a teacher, positively or negatively, you can be molded both ways," Doug Ivester said. "And I think the teachers of Hall County and the Gainesville School System mold people in a good way. They mold people to be equipped for their future, and we're just glad to be a part of it."
Howard said it was an honor to be recognized at the luncheon and receive the $10,000 gift.
"To be a teacher, especially when you are passionate about it and feel like it's a mission field the way that I do, today was just a cherry on top," Howard said. "The recognition and all the kind words were just very reassuring."
And, Kinsey said that while it was an honor to be recognized at the luncheon, the true honor comes in the form of her experiences with students.
"What's even more of an honor is to know the children's lives that you've impacted," Kinsey said. "That's what's so important. I love what I do. I've been doing it 15 years now and I love it as much today as I did the first day I started."
Hall County Schools Superintendent Will Schofield said it was great to come together and celebrate Howard and Kinsey.
"For 37 years I've watched how hard teachers work, how they pour absolutely everything of themselves into the next generation," Schofield said. "It's a special day for the teaching profession, for the next generation, and for Hall County."
Likewise, Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams said the event brought the recognition back to those who are setting up the nation's young people for success.
"All of us as administration, at some point, we started out as teachers, and this event always gives you that chance to just remember the impact our teachers are making in the classroom," Williams said. "Regardless of what we do as administrators, everything happens in the classroom. That's where the differences are made. That's where the love and nurturing happens."
Click the photo gallery above for a series of photos taken at the annual luncheon.