Special ed teacher is city honoree

Published: November 17, 2005 | 2749th good news item since 2003

Marilyn Bledsoe wants her students to do more than succeed in class.

The Gainesville High School special education teacher also thrives on seeing them “become contributing members of the school community and the community at large.”

In recognizing her work with her students, Gainesville City Schools has named Bledsoe its Teacher of the Year for the 2006-07 school year. She was chosen from among Teachers of the Year who had been picked at each of the system’s seven schools. [Those Who Can…Teach: Celebrating Teachers Who Make a Difference]

Each year, school systems statewide select a teacher of the year to compete for Georgia’s Teacher of the Year, a program sponsored by the state Department of Education. The 2006-07 state Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring.

Bledsoe, 62, originally from Woodstock, is in her 20th year as an educator, her fifth at Gainesville High. She also chairs the school’s special education department and supervises the school’s after-school program, where all students can get extra academic support.

In her field, “I see students who are so anxious to learn and give 110 percent every day,” Bledsoe said. “No challenge I give them is ever beyond what they think they can do.”

When she arrived at Gainesville High, she started the “Breakfast Club,” an effort to help her students with life skills, from cooking and making change to social interaction, by serving up meals to a number of guests, including faculty and others in the community. [Why I Teach : Inspirational True Stories from Teachers Who Make a Difference]

That has evolved into a program of serving lunch to faculty and central office staff, Bledsoe said.

As for the Teacher of the Year honor, she said she’d rather not have all the attention.

“Gainesville High has outstanding teachers in every department who deserve to be recognized,” Bledsoe said.

David Shumake, the system’s assistant superintendent for instruction, said he believes the recognition Bledsoe has gotten is well deserved and that she models a “master educator.”

Shumake was principal of Gainesville High before he was promoted earlier this school year but will oversee the school until his replacement is found.

“She has a great relationship with her kids,” he said of Bledsoe.

“… She takes them above and beyond and gives them life skills. I am certainly assured that the kids graduating from our program under her leadership are children who are going to be great citizens of Gainesville.”

Published in Heroes, Teachers
See also: www.gainesvilletimes.com
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