Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Porter Ridge High teacher is 2008 Teacher of Year
Union County Public Schools chose Porter Ridge High School Spanish teacher Jessica Garner as its top teacher during an annual awards ceremony Tuesday, April 22, 2008, at Rolling Hills Country Club.
Garner, 30, a 10th-year veteran teacher, said she is not only excited to represent her school and the county, but is also excited for her students. “I think this will mean a lot to them,” she said.
Garner and 47 other teachers were recognized during the banquet for being chosen the top teachers at their individual schools. The Porter Ridge High teacher was then singled out as the 2008 Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Click here to view all school-level winners.
Porter Ridge principal, Sam Basden, said what sets Garner apart is her teaching style and the way she runs her classroom.
“Her classroom is a community,” Basden said. “When you go into her classroom, you walk into Garnerland, and once you’re there, you belong. She moves seamlessly from one type of instruction to another. She addresses all teaching styles, but she does it secretly. She kind of sneaks things in.”
Garner said variety helps keep her students’ interest. “I like to vary the instruction a lot, so in a 90-minute block you have many different activities; listening, reading, speaking, writing, technology, little movie snippets, the Internet – we do the whole gamut. I just keep them moving.”
For winning the title, Garner will receive $500 cash for her personal use, a UCPS Teacher of the Year plaque, a laptop computer and 12-month use of a 2008 automobile. For winning at their school level, she and the other 47 teachers chosen receive $100, a special parking space at their school and a plaque commemorating the designation.
Before naming Garner as the top teacher, UCPS Superintendent Dr. Ed Davis congratulated all the school-level winners. “This is a time to honor those of you who give your blood, sweat and tears to the Union County Public Schools, and do those great things for children that you do on a daily basis. We’re very fortunate in this system to have such good teachers.”
Davis said the classroom teacher is the most important job in the school system. “The most important work that’s done on a daily basis is done by our classroom teachers. And there is no higher honor than to be recognized by one’s peers for doing that important work and doing it well.”
Time Warner Cable sponsored the UCPS Teacher of the Year banquet. “You’ve had a major impact on the students that you teach, and you’ve inspired them in a number of different ways,” Special Projects Coordinator Roberta Farman with Time Warner Cable told the group of educators.
“Thank you for your dedication to your students. Thank you for your belief in your profession. Thank you for your example to your colleagues, some of whom are here tonight to honor you. And thank you for all that you do for those who work and live in the Union County area,” Farman said. “Time Warner Cable honors and salutes you.”
The banquet will be broadcast by Time Warner on Cable Channel 9 on May 2, 2008, from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. and on May 3, 2008, from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Garner will have a framed portrait of herself displayed in the Teacher Hall of Fame on the sixth floor of the Union County Government Center. She will also represent UCPS at the Regional Teacher of the Year Competition, and will be recognized in such events as the Union County Christmas parade.
Garner is married to Nelson Garner, a PE teacher at Porter Ridge Elementary and soccer coach at Piedmont High School.
Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Apr 24, 2008 by Deb Coates Bledsoe