The Columbus Municipal School District Board of Trustees announced awards for teachers and administrators of the year Wednesday.
Susan J. Craddieth, a fourth-grade teacher at Stokes-Beard Elementary School, was named top teacher of the year for 2015-2016.
Tamela Barr, principal of Columbus Success Academy, was named top administrator of the year.
The announcements were made during a CMSD board meeting Wednesday.
“Teachers of the year, know your work has not gone unnoticed,” said board president Angela Verdell, before the names of each of the nine teachers of the year were called to come receive a certificate of appreciation for their work.
Craddieth serves a class of about 22 students at Stokes-Beard. She was unavailable for comment, but Pamela Barr-Lenoir, an assistant superintendent with the district, praised her work.
“She goes above and beyond the call of duty,” said Barr-Lenoir, adding that Craddieth’s classroom always has “active student learning taking place” and that she is “very creative” in her use of technology in the classroom.
Barr-Lenoir also noted that Craddieth’s students’ test scores are “always above average.”
“She believe in rigor and high expectations,” she said.
Barr has worked as the principal of the Success Academy, an alternative school for grades kindergarten through 12, for four years.
An educator for more than two decades, Barr previously worked as principal and assistant principal at Hunt Intermediate School, which has since closed.
Success Academy currently serves about 60 students.
“We do our best to meet the needs, academic and social, of those that are entrusted to us,” Barr said. “We have a unique group of students that come through our doors.”
Within the past two years, the school has implemented, in addition to its alternative school, an “overage academy” for students who are behind schedule with their academics, as well as a “suspension center,” as an alternative for those facing suspension (most due to behavior issues) so that they may continue their educational services.
CMSD Superintendent Philip Hickman noted Barr’s achievements over the last few years, including how she has helped to implement a number of new programs at Success Academy to assist students who have not been successful in more traditional settings and to tackle a high dropout rate, which hovers at around 30 percent.
Barr said she credits her success “solely to the teachers,” all of which have a goal of lowering the district’s dropout rate.
“It’s a challenge,” she said. “The teachers know that they’re getting students who, for whatever reason, have not been successful.”
She’s thankful that her teachers have embraced the changes that have come their way.
Other teachers honored
The list of the remaining teachers of the year for the district include: Dorretha Robinson, of Columbus High School; Ruth Ann Strickland, of McKellar Technology Center; Cassandra L. Hall, of Columbus Middle School; Alisha Davis, of Columbus Success Academy; Patricia Bartley, of Cook Elementary School; Eddie M. Hill, of Fairview Elementary School; Allison Kate Davis, of Franklin Elementary School; Alex McCafferty, of Sale Elementary School.
Sam Luvisi is news editor and covers education for The Dispatch.
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