Bibb Educator Named Teacher of the Year | Education
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Georgia's next Teacher of the Year comes from Bibb County.
Jadun McCarthy was chosen as the state's 2012 Teacher of the Year.
State education leaders made the announcement at a ceremony in Atlanta Friday night.
McCarthy, an English-Language Arts teacher at Northeast High School, earned the top honor after being selected Bibb County's Teacher of the Year last year.
Family members, friends, students and Bibb County school officials celebrated with McCarthy at the ceremony.
A panel of judges selected him for his compelling story.
McCarthy was a product of Bibb County schools. He decided on the night of his law school graduation to become a teacher, to keep kids away from the criminal-justice system rather than put them there.
"If someone had told me 15 years ago that I'd be the state teacher of the year, I would have bet them a million dollars they were wrong," he said.
McCarthy's students and family fought back tears as he recalled his personal story.
"I think it goes to show that anything's possible if you put your mind to it and if you work hard and diligent," McCarthy said.
"This is a very exciting moment and a great day in Bibb County's history," said Bibb Superintendent Romain Dallemand, who attended the ceremony. "Every student deserves to have a teacher like Mr. McCarthy."
During his speech, McCarthy called on school board member Ella Carter to stand and be recognized as his mentor and former principal.
"I think he would have made it in spite of me, but I'm glad to have played a part in his life," Carter said.
He dedicated the award to his grandparents, who raised him.
McCarthy was chosen from 10 finalists that included Houston County's Beth Sciarro.
"When you're a teacher, your life is your teaching and your life is your children that you're teaching and the progress that they make just makes your life, and so it's just such an honor to be recognized as someone who changes children's lives," Sciarro said.
McCarthy will serve as the top representative of all Georgia teachers, beginning July 1.
As the state's teacher of the year McCarthy will be expected to host workshops, speaking events, and act as an advocate for Georgia educators. The Georgia Department of Education says the job used to require winners take a year off from teaching, but the state no longer has the money to pay for that.