As a band instructor at Gainesville Middle School, Joey Forbes isn’t too keen on surprise notes coming from his students’ instruments.
On Wednesday, however, there was one surprise he greatly enjoyed hearing.
“I’m speechless,” Forbes said. “This was never expected.”
Forbes was named the 2014-15 Gainesville Schools Teacher of the Year after previously winning the honor at his school level.
He said he was surprised to be named the school’s teacher of the year, but never imagined he would become the district’s nominee, mostly because the honor usually goes to teachers of traditional academic subjects.
As part of the selection process, Forbes had to submit several essays on topics including his teaching philosophy, his thoughts on education issues and trends, and on what his platform would be if selected as Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Forbes, who began teaching in 1988, joined Gainesville Middle in 2002. This is his first time as the district teacher of the year.
“I had never expected to be the district person,” he said. “(Band teachers) teach everything. We teach math, science, social studies and reading.”
Forbes will now go up against teachers from across the state for the potential honor of being the Georgia Teacher of the Year. Finalists will be announced in the spring.
Forbes attributed much of his success to his fellow band instructors at both the middle and high schools.
“I get the opportunity to work with (the other band instructors),” he said. “We can do so much more for our students than just one person could do alone. It would be absolutely impossible for the three of us to provide the experiences we do if it was just one person.”
The Hall County School District is expected to announce its system teacher of the year later this year or the beginning of next year.