Westwood's LeLe Dean Named Dalton Public Schools Teacher Of Year

Thursday, August 9, 2018

LeLe Dean knew from a young age that she had a calling for education. As she watched her mother instill in others a passion for reading by selling World Book Encyclopedias, and listened to stories of the classroom from her grandmother, a high school teacher and later social worker, she was influenced to start her career in teaching, too. 

Ms. Dean started teaching first grade in Twiggs County. She worked in Pre-K and para-pro positions at Westwood before starting first grade again in 2012. She received the Westwood ParaPro of the Year in 2011. Now, with 25 years in education, Ms. Dean was named the 2018-19 Dalton Public Schools Teacher of the Year. 

Ms. Dean was announced the winner at the district's employee convocation on Aug. 1 at the Wink Theater. Shortly after thanking her colleagues for the recognition, Jason Denson with Ford of Dalton approached the stage with a giant silver key and the actual car keys to the year-long use of a new 2018 Ford Escape. 

Mr. Denson addressed the theater full of DPS educators. "I have a lot respect for what each and every one of you in this room do for our children and our community each day," he said. "Growing up here and living here, this community means the world to me and my family, and I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this sponsorship." 

Westwood Principal Scott Ehlers said this recognition deserves to go to someone like Ms. Dean. "LeLe is always thinking of ways to reach and motivate her students," he said. 

Assistant Principal Marla Pridgen added, "LeLe is always so positive and trying new strategies with her students." 

In her Teacher of the Year application, Ms. Dean said she is not comfortable with labeling herself an outstanding teacher, but she can share what she finds important and what she has learned from her peers and mentor teachers. 

"As teachers, we are called to be difference makers in the lives of our students," said Ms. Dean. "As long as we can remember this, and remember how lucky we are to spend our days creating a passion for learning in our students, we are going to be successful in making a difference in the lives of children," she said. "If we remember to keep a good attitude and be joyful in our calling, we can continue to shine a light on the profession of teaching." 

Ms. Dean said she feels fortunate to have found a district that emphasizes the importance of relationships in learning. She works on celebrating each child's individual strengths and talents in her classroom, so they feel valued and respected. "I've learned that once you've developed relationships with students based on love and respect, students are able to flourish," she explained. "My hope is that learning to work together and support one another will help my students become grownups who are difference makers." 

Ms. Dean also discussed demonstrating to students the importance of being lifelong learners. 

"As teachers, I believe we should be examples of lifelong learners. We should always be evolving to meet the needs of a changing world. We should be excited about learning new ways to engage our students. We should be willing to step outside of our comfort zone, to find ways to keep our students challenged and excited about learning." 

Other school-level Teacher of the Year honorees include: Amy Norwood, Blue Ridge School; Julie Fischer, Brookwood School; Holly King, City Park School; Veronica Vital, Park Creek School; Lynnda Higgins, Roan School; Susan Jones, Dalton Middle School; Sheila Yarbrough, Morris Innovative High School; and runner-up Coulter Redding, Dalton High School. 

Through sponsorships from Parrish Construction Company, Carroll Daniel Construction, J. W. Buckley and Associates, Inc., Georgia United Credit Union, Shaw Industries, Dalton Utilities and First Bank of Dalton, all school-level Teacher of the Year winners received $250, and Redding received an additional $500 as the runner up. Ms. Dean received an additional $1,000.



Cleveland City Schools' Activities For The Week Of Oct. 22

Week of October 22 Blythe-Bower Elementary celebrates Red Ribbon/College Week with a variety of school spirit days. Students and staff will celebrate healthy choices and looking forward to a bright future. Kids on the Block will provide programs on Wednesday for all grade levels. The Bridge will present to 4th and 5th grade on October 30th. ... (click for more)

Judge David Campbell Chapter, NSDAR Visits Whitwell Elementary School

Whitwell Elementary School fourth graders learn about the causes of the American Revolution and flags from then to now when members of the Judge David Campbell Chapter, NSDAR visited the school.  The chapter also donated a George Washington framed print to the school.  (click for more)

WWTA Releases Timetable That Would Have Ooltewah Sewage Treatment Plant In Operation By 2025; Public Meetings Set At Central High

The Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority has released a timetable that would have a new sewage treatment in Ooltewah in operation by 2025.   A request for a site at Mahan Gap Road goes before the Planning Commission at Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. It goes to the County Commission Zoning Committee on Dec. 12 and the full commission on Dec. 19.    ... (click for more)

Mark Hazelwood's Attorneys Ask That He Be Allowed To Spend Christmas With His Family

Attorneys for former Pilot Travel Centers president Mark Hazelwood are asking that he be allowed to spend Christmas with his family before self-reporting to begin serving a 12 years and six months federal prison sentence. Judge Curtis Collier of Chattanooga on Sept. 26 allowed Hazelwood to remain at his Knoxville home until after Thanksgiving. He set the report date at Nov. 26. ... (click for more)

Too Many Questions

First it was about 2,000, then we were told it’s up to 4,000. We have no way of knowing who’s coming or what their purpose is. NBC and CNN assure us they are seeking sanctuary but how can we know? Neither Honduras or our subjective media in America have been honest with us in the past. So, how do we know why that many people are marching across Central America?   ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Who Do You Trust?

About this time last month a 25-year-old kid with a fresh degree in “public policy” left me a phone call hoping to get my views. Joda Thongnopnua is the Democratic candidate for the State House in District 30 and he is like a load of other erstwhile politicians in my experience who I’ve never heard of but “really want to meet me” … this with less than a month before they “really” ... (click for more)