The Fayetteville City School System has recognized 2019-20 “Teacher of the Year” honorees from the system’s three schools.
Missy Pace represents Ralph Askins School as “Teacher of the Year”, while Amy Giffin is honored by Fayetteville Middle School and Keela Wright by Fayetteville High School.
For Missy Pace, Ralph Askins School’s “Teacher of the Year”, watching students grow from day one in her classroom to reaching milestones throughout the school year is the most gratifying part of her job.
The 15-year teaching veteran, in her ninth year with Fayetteville City Schools, has taught everything from third to ninth grades and currently teaches third grade ELA.
“Without a doubt, the most rewarding part of my job is the privilege of working with kids from so many different levels and backgrounds,” Pace said. “It’s such a tremendous honor to be able to meet kids where they are and watch them grow throughout the course of the school year.
“For many kids, third grade is the year they really learn to love to read, and it is incredibly exciting to be a part of that,” she added. “Being a part of our small system is also rewarding because I get to stay connected to my students as they grow; I’ve had the privilege of having students that I’ve taught in the classroom come back to my room as juniors and seniors to be peer educators.”
Dr. Bridgette Jones, school principal, said the administration of Ralph Askins School is pleased to honor Pace as the 2019-2020 “Teacher of the Year”.
“Mrs. Pace’s commitment to early literacy education and her passion for teaching reading to our students make her a perfect candidate for this honor,” Jones said. “We are proud to have her as a part of the RAS family.”
Pace said she is honored to represent Askins School as “Teacher of the Year” but notes she is privileged to be just one part of a team of hard-working, caring educators.
“I was definitely shocked,” she said of earning “Teacher of the Year” honors. “We have so many great teachers in our building that deserve it more than I do! I think we all work hard trying to provide the best we can for the kids in our room. I love being part of a team of educators that truly has what’s best for kids at heart and works so hard to provide for their educational and emotional needs.”
Serving students and witnessing “light bulb moments” are the most rewarding aspects of her career, says Amy Giffin, Fayetteville Middle School’s “Teacher of the Year”.
In her 27th year in public education – all with Fayetteville City Schools – Giffin says she is blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of those moments and to make a difference in the lives of students.
“I would have to say that the most rewarding aspect of my career is serving the students, whether it be in an academic capacity or otherwise,” says Giffin, who currently serves as librarian/media specialist at FMS. “Being there when the light bulb comes on, and they master a skill or complete a task, finish a book, those are defining moments in an educator´s life.
“Also being there to give or receive a much-needed hug or high five, listen to a problem or concern and give advice, watching them play sports or receive awards for their accomplishments are all parts of the job that create lasting memories and relationships that are priceless rewards of being a teacher,” she added. “The fact that I have 27 years’ worth of those types of memories and relationships is an amazing feeling, a special gift.”
Giffin earned a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree from Middle Tennessee State University in 1993 and began her career teaching and working for the Fayetteville City School System’s F.A.S.T. program. She earned a masters in elementary education (M.Ed.) from Tennessee State University (TSU) in 2000 and gained her library/media specialist endorsement from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in 2017.
She has experience teaching second grade at Ralph Askins School and spent 20 years as a third grade teacher at the elementary school. Giffin worked for the F.A.S.T. program for eight years and served as grade level chairperson for seven. For six years now, she has worked in library/media/technology classes and services for fifth through eighth graders at Fayetteville Middle, where she also is Student Council sponsor.
“Fayetteville Middle School is very proud to announce that Amy Giffin is the 2019-2020 ‘Teacher of the Year’,” said Principal Steve Giffin, noting Mrs. Giffin’s 27 years of service with the Fayetteville City School System. “Mrs. Giffin is the school librarian and teaches all students in the school. She covers many topics in her class that include library skills and technology. With our integration of 1:1 Chromebooks for our seventh and eighth grade students this year, Mrs. Giffin both distributed and managed this process.
“She has a vast knowledge of the library collection at our school and helps all subject areas with needed student resources,” he added. “She is the sponsor of our school Student Council, and their group is very active in our holiday fundraising by having different charitable drives to help children in our community. Congratulations to Mrs. Amy Giffin!”
“It is such a great honor to get to work with the amazing staff and teachers at Fayetteville Middle School,” Mrs. Giffin said. “We are more like a family than a group of coworkers in the ways that everyone supports one another, not only in educating and caring for the students, but in the ways that we all care for and support each other in times of need and times of celebration.
“Being chosen as ‘Teacher of the Year’ among this wonderful, strong group of educators is humbling,” she added. “All of the teachers at FMS are deserving of this recognition, and it was something that I was not expecting to receive, so I am deeply honored to be recognized.”
Keela Wright, a math and special education instructor at Fayetteville High School, has been honored as the school’s “Teacher of the Year”.
This year marks her 17th year of teaching and her 10th with the Fayetteville City School System.
“Mrs. Wright is a phenomenal teacher and deeply cares for the students at FHS,” said Adam McCormick, principal. “As a special education teacher and math interventionist, she devotes herself to the success of her students. A true member of Tiger Family, she never bats an eye when someone is in need or a job needs to be done.
“It is truly an honor and blessing to have one such as her be a part of the Fayetteville High School staff,” he added.
Mrs. Wright holds a specialist in education degree from Middle Tennessee State University, a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a bachelor’s degree from Athens State University.
She serves as sponsor of the Leo Club at Fayetteville High School.
Mrs. Wright resides on the family farm where she grew up, along with her husband of 17 years, Richard, and their 12-year-old daughter, Livey.
Mrs. Wright enjoys spending time with her family and friends whenever possible, going on vacations, watching sports and shopping.