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Meet Gainesville's 2022-23 teachers of the year
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Cynthia Kinsey works with her second grade students Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, at New Holland Knowledge Academy. Kinsey won the 2022-23 Teacher of the Year award for Gainesville City Schools. - photo by Scott Rogers

The following are Gainesville teachers named teacher of the year for their individual schools. The Gainesville City Schools system winner is Cynthia Kinsey. Hall County has also named its teachers of the year. The Times asked each teacher to respond to the question: What do you think people should know about your students and the next generation?

Rebecca Creel 2022
Rebecca Creel-George of Centennial Arts Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Centennial Arts Academy

Rebecca Creel-George

Teaches: 2nd grade

Years teaching: 8, all at Centennial

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “I hope that people know that the next generation of students are curious and inquisitive. I see that my students learn more about the world through their experiences and interactions. I am proud my students are developing curiosity because it will enable them to continue to grow, learn and question what is around them.”  

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Leigh Elliott of Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy 

Leigh Elliott

Teaches: Early Intervention Program math

Years teaching: 26, 22 at Enota

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Students in this generation are resilient, resourceful and flexible. They are savvy with technology and enjoy working collaboratively with their peers to problem-solve. My students have fun learning with hands-on math experiences and games that deepen their understanding of the math concepts we are learning.”

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Karen Jones McCusker of Fair Street International Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Fair Street International Academy 

Karen Jones McCusker

Teaches: ESOL, 3rd-5th grades

Years teaching: 8, all at Fair Street

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Many of my students come from other countries and have grown up in a home that speaks another language other than English.  What amazes me is that my students come to school everyday with a desire to learn even when they find things difficult.  Their perseverance to learn and grow shows that these students will make a difference in the future.” 

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Annie Viviant of Gainesville Exploration Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Gainesville Exploration Academy

Annie Viviant

Teaches: Media specialist

Years teaching: 16, all at Gainesville

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “I believe that our students will surprise us in many ways in the future. I have already seen many of my former students making a positive impact in our own community. I cannot wait to see what amazing things this group of students will do for the rest of the world.” 

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Shelly Black of Gainesville High School - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Gainesville High School 

Shelly Black

Teaches: Special education

Years teaching: 28, 16 at Gainesville

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Our current students have seen unprecedented times.  Our ability to make meaningful connections has been challenged, yet the positive has come in the realization that our students are valuing and appreciating their teachers when it comes to face-to-face instruction. It is our hope that the next generation will understand the importance of student/teacher connectivity.” 

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Alexandra Dalton of Gainesville Middle School - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Gainesville Middle School 

Alexandra Dalton

Teaches: Earth science, 6th grade

Years teaching: 7, 5 at Gainesville

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Yes, COVID has been hard, but our children/students are going to be fine. As long as the schools, community and families work together to do what is best for our children, the sky's the limit!”

Brittany Mendoza 2022
Brittany Mendoza of Mundy Mill Arts Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

Mundy Mill Arts Academy 

Brittany Mendoza

Teaches: English to Speakers of Other Languages, 3rd-5th

Years teaching: 7, 5 at Mundy Mill

City of residence: Jefferson

Quote: “My students are capable, aware and continue to demonstrate perseverance in our ever evolving times. They have been through a lot at a young age but show so much resilience and hope for our future. They will do great things for their community.” 

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Cynthia Kinsey of New Holland Knowledge Academy - photo by Gainesville City Schools

New Holland Knowledge Academy 

Cynthia Kinsey 

Gainesville system winner

Teaches: Second grade, all subjects 

Years teaching: 14, all at New Holland 

City of residence: Clermont 

Quote: “Our lives and future rest in the hands of today’s elementary, middle and high school students. It is our job to teach in ways that connect us with our students and build relationships that nurture confidence. The confidence gained will help them be the best they can be in a rapidly changing world.