RCPS announces Teacher of the Year finalists

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Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) is pleased to announce the finalists for 2016-17 RCPS Teacher of the Year are: Shauna Roddenberry of Barksdale Elementary, Allison Dunlop of Lorraine Elementary, and Kim Sanderson of Davis Middle.

All three received surprise visits to their classrooms Friday morning by a crowd of officials, including RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry and school board members, to announce their selection and commend them as inspirations and exemplary educators.

All the 22 school-level Teachers of the Year will be celebrated in a ceremony on September 26, 2016, 6 p.m. at Rockdale Career Academy. One of the finalists will be named district-level winner at the end of the evening, and that teacher will be entered into the state-level Teacher of the Year competition.

 Allison Dunlop, Lorraine Elementary

Allison Dunlop was overwhelmed and moved to tears as school officials and her husband came by her second grade classroom Friday morning to make the happy announcement.

“I’m overwhelmed. I am surprised. I am…. this is such an honor. It really and truly is,” says Dunlop, beginning to tear up again. “I can’t even begin to describe my feelings for being selected as one of the finalists for Teacher of the Year. What a great honor it is to be chosen from an elite group of top notch educators throughout our county.”

Dunlop has been teaching third grade for 32 years. This year, she changed grade levels and is now teaching second grade.

Dunlop has deep roots in Rockdale County Public Schools. She attended school here from 5th to 12th grade, graduating from Heritage High. Her own children attended Sims, Lorraine, Memorial, Davis, Salem and Heritage. She began her teaching career at C.J. Hicks and transferred to Lorraine when it opened in 1996.

She and her husband David have been married for 32 years have three children, a 28-year-old daughter Claire who currently teaches third grade at Barksdale Elementary, 26-year-old son Dustin who lives in Indiana, and their 20-year-old daughter Abbey, who is attending Piedmont College on a soccer scholarship and majoring in early childhood education.

Shauna Roddenberry, Barksdale Elementary

Barksdale Elementary’s cafeteria was filled to the brim with parents, students and faculty for the Jr. Beta Club induction when school officials came in to make the special announcement. A stunned Roddenberry made her way up to the front. “I appreciate this,” she said. “I could not be more surprised. I’m so proud of this. I don’t even know what to say other than thank you so much. I’m looking at all the faces and all the reasons we do this every day. This room is filled with teachers who are dedicated every day to working with your children.”

This is in her 26th year of teaching, with most of those years teaching third grade. This is her sixth year at Barksdale teaching third grade.

“I have always tried to be the kind of teacher that I wanted for my own children,” she said. “My students become a part of my life when they enter my classroom and I want them to remember me as someone who was always an encourager and a motivator. I tell the parents of my students that they are the experts on their children and I am here to assist them in their journey.”

She and her husband Gordon, her college sweetheart, have been married 30 years. They have 26-year-old twins, Zach and Laeryn, one granddaughter.

Kim Sanderson, Gen. Ray Davis Middle

Kim Sanderson’s eighth grade science students didn’t miss a beat when they realized their teacher was named a finalist for RCPS Teacher of the Year, bursting into cheers. Sanderson, on the other hand, choked up as she looked out on their faces.

“I feel like my being a finalist is because of my wonderful students,” she said. “They inspire me to bring my best to school.”

It also happened to be Sanderson’s birthday, and she remarked what a wonderful birthday gift it was to receive this announcement.

Sanderson has been teaching for 11 years, all in Rockdale. She teaches eighth grade science at Davis Middle and taught 7th grade science at Memorial Middle before that.

Sanderson worked as a physical therapist for 17 years, serving as coordinator for clinical education at St. Joseph’s Hospital, before she was bitten by the teaching bug. She began teaching in Rockdale after completing the GaTAPP program.

Sanderson and her husband Kent have been married 28 years. Their son works in Cartersville, their eldest daughter is a senior at UGA, and their twin daughters are in eighth grade at Davis.

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