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Gainesville City Schools Teachers Of The Year
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Jessica Chambers

School: New Holland Knowledge Academy

Teaches: kindergarten

Years at school: 5

Years teaching: 5

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Teaching is fun. I enjoy teaching in hopes that I can make a difference in their lives, just like one was made for me by my teachers.”

Diana Drerup

School: Centennial Arts Academy

Teaches: English for Speakers of Other Languages

Years at school: 12

Years teaching: 14

City of residence: Jefferson

Quote: “I love finding ways to help children achieve their best and the moments when students feel successful.”

Michelle Garcia

School: Fair Street IB World School

Teaches: second grade

Years at school: 8

Years teaching: 8

City of residence: Cleveland

Quote: “I enjoy teaching children how to read and write. Getting to be a part of the education of a child who is going from knowing a few letter sounds to actually reading with fluency is a rewarding experience. It is also amazing when students begin to write sentences independently. I get the privilege of calling that my job.”

Samantha Humphries

School: Gainesville Exploration Academy

Teaches: first grade

Years at school: 4

Years teaching: 5

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “I love being able to share my passion for learning while building meaningful relationships with the students I teach each year. It is so thrilling watching them grow.”

Kay Law

School: Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy

Teaches: first grade

Years at school: 16

Years teaching: 30

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “Teaching first-graders allows me the opportunity to experience the energy and excitement they bring into the classroom each day. Having the opportunity to see the world from their unique perspective adds to the instruction. I am motivated to teach them the skills they will need to be successful and achieve their best academically and personally.”

Jean Louis Pondo

School: Gainesville Middle School

Teaches: French

Years at school: 5

Years teaching: 8

City of residence: Atlanta

Quote: “I enjoy teaching because it gives me the ability to help children achieve their best. Teaching allows me to inspire and challenge students not only academically but personally. I just love the feeling of accomplishment, seeing students grow in knowledge, confidence and skills. The excitement of a good and well thought out lesson is just unparalleled.”

Master Sgt. Jack Reese

School: Gainesville High School

Teaches: Naval Junior ROTC

Years at school: 9

Years teaching: 18

City of residence: Gainesville

Quote: “The only way to success is through education. Here in our diverse little part of the world, that is very true. When I hear students say, ‘The only reason I graduated was because of you’ — this is the joy of teaching. Touching and changing young lives.”

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