Phone: (770) 787-1330 Fax: (770) 784-2950 Email:




 (Alcovy STAR Student Elise McDonald, Newton & NCSS STAR Student Brittany Webb,
and Eastside STAR Student Evan House)

Newton County School System and the Kiwanis Club of Covington are pleased to announce the 2015 STAR Students and STAR Teachers. The PAGE Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program, now in its 57th year, is sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Georgia Department of Education. Since its inception the STAR program has honored more than 24,000 students and the teachers they have selected as having had the most influence on their academic success.

To obtain the STAR nomination, high school seniors must have the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT.  The SAT is a national college entrance exam some colleges and universities utilize to measure critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well students analyze and solve problems. It is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200—800, with two Writing sub-scores for multiple-choice and the essay. In order to be a STAR Student, the student must also be in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average.



 (Alcovy STAR Teacher John Gomez, Alcovy STAR Student Elise McDonald, and Kiwanis President Tina Ulmer)

Elise McDonald is Alcovy High School’s 2015 STAR Student.  She scored a very impressive 1960 out of 2400 on the SAT. In addition to her studies, Elise has been the school drum major and has participated in the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, FFA, Tri-Am Music Honor Society, and Key Club. During her time at Alcovy, Elise has taken several Advanced Placement (AP) courses, including US History, Literature, Language, Biology, Macroeconomics, and Statistics.

Elise has been accepted to attend the University of Georgia, where she plans on majoring in Fish and Wildlife Biology. Her career goal is to become a fish and wildlife biologist for the fish and wildlife service.

Elise selected Mr. John Gomez, Alcovy High School’s band director, as her STAR Teacher. This is Mr. Gomez’s first time being selected as a STAR Teacher.

When asked why she selected Mr. Gomez, Elise stated, “He’s been the teacher at Alcovy who has helped me grow the most. He encouraged me on the pathway to leadership and has been very supportive. He doesn’t just teach us music, he teaches us real-life applications.”


(Eastside STAR Teacher Eric Adams, STAR Student Evan House, and Kiwanis Club President Tina Ulmer)

Evan House is Eastside High School’s 2015 STAR Student. He scored 1970 out of 2400 on his SAT. He has taken numerous AP classes during his time at Eastside High School, including: World History, Language, US History, Latin, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Literature, Chemistry, and Calculus. During his time at Eastside High he has played baseball and football and participated on the swim team and in the Junior Classical League.

Evan has been accepted to attend the University of Georgia but he is still waiting to hear back from both Vanderbilt and Yale.  While in college he plans to major in history.  His career goal is to go to law school and become a lawyer. Evan chose Mr. Eric Adams, the Latin teacher at Eastside High School as his STAR Teacher. Mr. Adams has been named a STAR Teacher 10 times!

When asked why he chose Mr. Adams, Evan said, “He is a great teacher and he’s my favorite. He has taught me so much. The amount of knowledge I’ve gained from him is more than I’ve gained from anyone else.”



(STAR Teacher Kristina Collins, STAR Student Brittany Webb, and Kiwanis President Tina Ulmer)

Brittany Webb is not only Newton High School’s STAR Student, she is also Newton County School System’s STAR Student, as she had the highest SAT score in the district. Brittany scored an amazing 2190 out of 2400 on the SAT. During her time at Newton High, Brittany has taken several AP courses, including: World History, US History, Language Composition, Literature and Composition, Economics, Physics, Art, Calculus, and Statistics. She is a member of the Key Club and the Academic Team.

Brittany’s goal is to major in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT. Once she graduates from college she would like to become an actuary.  Brittany selected her math teacher, Ms. Kristina Collins, as her STAR Teacher. As such, Ms. Collins is the 2015 STAR Teacher. This is the first time Ms. Collins has been selected as a STAR Teacher.

When asked why she chose Ms. Collins as her STAR Teacher, Brittany said, “She is the first person that made me see math in a different way. She opened up a new world of possibility for math.”

“The Kiwanis Club of Covington is pleased to recognize Newton County STAR students and teachers,” said Tina Ulmer, President of the Kiwanis Club of Covington. “Our Club is focused on helping the children of our community.  For our club, it is a privilege and a wonderful tradition to celebrate some of the best and brightest students and educators our school system has to offer.  I am very proud of the Newton County school system and the awesome education it provides the students in our county.”

 “These STAR students represent the high caliber of students we have in Newton County,” added NCSS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Craig Lockhart. “They prove that our children can compete on national and global levels. Newton County students are capable of amazing achievement, and these three individuals have set this year’s mark in the area of the SAT. We commend Elise, Evan, and Brittany for staying the course and demonstrating what one can accomplish through hard work and discipline. In addition, we thank the parents, teachers, and leaders who have supported these students through the years.  It is a great day for the Newton County School System!”

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, Director of Public Relations for Newton County Schools, at or by phone at 770-784-2908.