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Meet Ginnie Sherrod, BCHS teacher of year

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POSTED: May 20, 2010 10:46 a.m.
Photo by Jeff Whitten/

Ginnie Sherrod stands next to RHHS's Wall of Fame

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Ginnie Sherrod is the 2010-2011 teacher of the year for Bryan County  High School. She has taught five years. A native of Macon, Sherrod is a 1999 graduate of Westside High School.
She received a degree in biology from Georgia Southern in 2004 and in 2007 earned her master’s of education in secondary science education from Armstrong Atlantic State University.
Sherrod is currently pursuing her doctorate in education on teacher leadership from Walden University.
She has been married to Nic Sherrod for three years. They have no kids, but do have two Labrador retrievers, Jake and Logan.

Congratulations on being named teacher of the year at BCHS. Why did you get into teaching?
After high school, I decided to attend Georgia Southern University to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Throughout college, I was actively involved in the community, tutoring elementary students in math and science, tutoring fellow classmates, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. I thoroughly enjoyed helping people. I knew that I had a calling to become an educator. However, I came from a long line of teachers and was determined to take a different path.  The closer I came to graduation, the more uncertain I was about going to vet school.  I accepted a job working for a local veterinarian in order to assist with determining my next career path. During the last few weeks of school, a former professor was a guest speaker in one of my upper level biology classes. The purpose of his presentation was to give us as future graduates many options with our biology degree. One option included working with future science teachers at the post secondary level.
Based on his presentation, I decided to pursue a MED degree, concentrating in secondary science. I never wanted to be a teacher. However, I realized my love for science was limited in the veterinary field. I then recognized that teaching was the perfect job for me. I wanted to help people and I knew I had to teach them in order for them to help themselves.
 
Why are good teachers important?

Education is the key to being successful at whatever you do and teaching is the tool that I use to help my students achieve success at whatever they attempt. My background in science has been a valuable asset in helping to instill in students that they can be a productive part of society. In order to bring about change, one has to be active and engage in the teaching process in order to see the type of results one desires. Therefore, I decided to be an integral part of the molding process that is required to make a positive impact on students who will one day make the same decisions that I have to make each day.
 
Do you have a philosophy on teaching?

I think one of my most distinguishing characteristics is the diversity of experiences I possess. I believe the best teachers are always students. I am constantly looking for any opportunity to learn new things in terms of science and educational strategies. I teach my students that life is about making choices and as a result of the choices they make they will either reap the rewards or suffer the consequences.  My goal is to shape their decision-making skills so that the rewards greatly outnumber the consequences.  I try very hard to get my students to see how they can use what they learn in my classroom later on in their lives, not just so they can pass my test. I set my standards high from the moment they walk through my door and encourage my students to ask questions not only in the classroom, but everywhere they go.
Students should be driven by their own curiosity rather than by the need or even the desire to make better grades. Students need to think, to form opinions and to work with people who do not always agree. I have come to realize that students, as well as adults, will not ask questions because they feel intimidated by the situation or by those around them.  I want to give my students enough basic knowledge in science that they can feel comfortable asking questions. As a result of this teaching style, I see the rewards of many hours of hard work, patience, kindness and understanding. My strongest belief about teaching is to” teach the teachable moment.” Oftentimes, I have to stray away from the subject at hand in order to grasp the “moment”. However, if I can do that and somehow tie the answer to their life situation, then I feel successful. I want them to be able to take the learning experience outside the classroom and apply it to the world around them.

Bryan County Schools have a reputation for excellence. Why?
The Bryan County School system continues to maintain a reputation for excellence because of each individual leader. Successful leaders have established policies and educational strategies that support continuous academic improvement. Educators have been equipped with adequate resources that will allow them to reach student learning goals and adapt to changes that may occur.  Leadership has been distributed among teachers in roles that allow them to use their skills as members of school improvement committees, principal advisory committees, coaches, mentors, and members of peer review panels. Overall, the reputation for excellence can be directly linked to every individual community member.
 
What is the hardest part of your job?
 I have often argued that the difference between knowing and teaching is communication.  I view the classroom as a wealth of knowledge and inquiry from which teachers and students emerge as both better teachers and better students. I recognize that while I have much to offer my students, I have plenty to learn from them as well. Teaching allows me to be a positive professional role-model as well as a student. Communication is the crucial link between a knowledgeable teacher and students who are able to learn.  Making connections begins with trust, cooperation, social interaction, support, and mutual respect. Many of the most valuable lessons in life do not come from books but from encounters with other people.  As teachers, we are obligated to teach lessons that lift students up and not tear them down.

What is the easiest part of your job?
Knowing that teachers provide a catalyst for learning by making information understandable and applicable to students is the easiest part of my job. I believe an effective teacher has an intense passion for teaching and also has the will and the ability to show emotion, realizing that genuine emotions not only reveal his or her character, but are also an effective and personal means of communication. In order to meet the new challenges faced by educators, I continue to demand excellence from my students just as I demand excellence from myself. We as educators should expect nothing but the best. To expect any less would deny students the opportunity to go beyond the limits of what they once thought possible for themselves. 
 
If you want to share the credit or give thanks to anyone, please do.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the faculty and staff at Bryan County High school. I was excited to hear that I had been chosen to receive the Teacher of the Year award this year. As a recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, I feel honored to have been selected.
I would also like to thank all the people who helped me through the highs and lows of the past year. Thank you to my mentor teachers, who were my most direct pedagogical instructors, for their assistance, support and encouragement.
A special thanks to my parents who taught me that true success cannot be defined financially and always stressed the importance of education and the value of a college degree.
Also, to my husband Nic, who has been so patient with me throughout my educational career, as a teacher and student. He has been extremely understanding of my need to work long hours in order to complete each task at hand. He has been my biggest cheerleader throughout my educational journey.
 

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