A teacher and principal who work in Roswell schools have been tapped for being the best among their peers.
The Fulton County School System announced its top educators in two surprise ceremonies – Jennifer Sweigart of Hillside Elementary School as 2014 Teacher of the Year and Kindra Smith of Roswell North Elementary School as 2014 Principal of the Year.
Bouquets of flowers and a special recognition banner were presented to the honorees, who both were shocked to receive the surprise news.
“Your impact on students will live long after they leave your classroom or your school,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa. “You have created a legacy – you’ve inspired them, nurtured them, and taught them to love learning. You embody all of the ideals of an outstanding, caring educator who lives up to our school system’s motto, ‘’Where Students Come First.’ ”
The educators who receive the distinctions will serve as examples to their colleagues for the next academic year. A formal recognition gala, the Legacy of Excellence, will be held Nov. 7 at the Georgia World Congress Center. This event will celebrate their accomplishments as well as those of other employees of the year who were selected by their local school communities.
2014 Teacher of the Year – Jennifer Sweigart of Hillside Elementary School
Each spring, Fulton schools are invited to nominate outstanding teachers based on teacher, staff and parent input. These teachers are then evaluated a second time through a classroom visit and interview, and one finalist is announced from each of Fulton’s geographic Learning Communities – Northeast, Northwest, Central and South. From these four educators, one is chosen as the system's Teacher of the Year.
Teacher of the Year Nominees
- Central Learning Community – Zachary Luna, North Springs Charter High School
- Northeast Learning Community – Jennifer Sweigart, Hillside Elementary School
- Northwest Learning Community – Miyuki Johnson, Elkins Pointe Middle School
- South Learning Community – Xavier Woods, Campbell Elementary School
A teacher for 14 years, Sweigart said that an atmosphere of creativity, respect, balance and community is what makes her third-grade classroom special and unique.
“I value cooperation and collaboration among the students, as well as in my relationships with parents and colleagues,” she said. “At the same time, I value individual achievement attained through high expectations and perseverance. I believe that teaching blesses us with the privilege of growing the next generation of leaders.”
Sweigart taught at New Prospect Elementary School and Alpharetta Elementary School before joining the Hillside faculty in 2009.
During that time she has taught third and fourth grade, as well as Early Intervention Program reading and math classes that span kindergarten through fifth grade.
She also has been a Teacher of the Year finalist, a member of the Local School Advisory Council and has represented her school at the district’s Summer Summit for teachers and Title I Boot Camp. Her experience as a teacher-leader has assisted her peers as she also has served as a Common Core Georgia Performance Standards facilitator and a School Quality Review team member.
2104 Principal of the Year – Kindra Smith of Roswell North Elementary School
For the Principal of the Year recognition program, principals were asked to nominate a peer who exemplified the system’s beliefs and mission and how those exemplify the district’s strategic goals. From the nominations, four finalists were chosen from each of the district’s learning communities.
Principal of the Year Nominees
- Central Learning Community – Angela Parham, Oak Knoll Elementary School
- Northeast Learning Community – Roytunda Stabler, Abbotts Hill Elementary School
- Northwest Learning Community – Kindra Smith, Roswell North Elementary School
- South Learning Community – Shannon Flounnory, Stonewall Tell Elementary School
Kindra Smith joined the Fulton County School System in 1995 as a teacher at Crabapple Crossing Elementary School and then became an assistant principal at Northwestern Middle School. She was named Roswell North’s principal in 2010.
The experiences over her 19-year career have equipped Smith with the skills to lead a student-focused learning environment while also driving school improvement. She prides herself on helping her staff create a school culture that encourages success for all.
“The strength of our school lies within the richness of our diverse population which mimics the world in which we live,” she said. “We seek to create a warm, student-centered environment that engages students with high quality instruction. Our values are built around a unified purpose of strengthening their ability to problem-solve, communicate effectively, think critically and collaborate.”