2022 Teacher of Year Announced

De'Anna O'Brien Named NCSS 2022 Teacher of the Year
Posted on 09/30/2021
De'Anna O'BrienEastside High School special education teacher, Ms. DeAnna O’Brien, is Newton County School System’s 2022 Teacher of the Year! She will now represent Newton County Schools in the Georgia Teacher of the Year Program. Ms. O’Brien’s prizes included $1,000 cash and a crystal vase from the Newton County Chamber of Commerce, $500 cash from Covington Ford, and a dozen red roses.

Ms. Samantha Greco of West Newton Elementary School and Mr. Clayton Hammonds of Veterans Memorial Middle School were this year’s runners up. They each received a crystal vase award from the Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

“One of my colleagues told me this would be a very surreal moment and I can’t think of a better way to describe that now,” said Ms. O’Brien. “Thank you so very much. This is an incredible honor. The 23 of us sitting up here I think would all agree that being able to be a part of other people’s children’s lives is the most incredible honor that any of us could have any given day. But to be able to represent my colleagues in Newton County is incredible.”

She continued, “I want to thank my family for putting up with being a teacher’s family and giving up a lot of their time so I can get my job done. I was joking when I left school today that for my particular position it’s not about being a teacher of the year, it’s about being a team of the year and I have two incredible parapros that walk beside me each and every day, every step of the way. We are an incredible team, Ms. Maria Hardeman and Ms. Sande Jackson and myself, and I cannot do my job without them. What touched me the most when my colleagues voted for me to represent Eastside High School and what it meant to me was that they noticed my kids. My students who have had disabilities their entire life who often sometimes will go unnoticed—they noticed my kids. Not only did they notice them but they noticed how amazing they are. And to be have been named a finalist I think what spoke to me is that the panel heard their voices through my essays—my students sitting in my classroom in Eastside—their voices were heard. And for them to come in and watch a classroom was I’m sure as much fun for them as it is for us every day, because you never know what’s going to happen. I hope what they took away from that is that absolutely anything is possible. No matter who you are, no matter what your obstacles are in front of you, every child in our school system is amazing and they have amazing possibilities. And the 23 of us sitting up here, that is what we do each and every day. We make their disabilities disappear and their abilities appear so that when they walk out into your world and into our community they can do whatever they dream possible. Thank you so very much, this is an absolute honor.”

Prior to joining the Eastside High School team, Ms. O’Brien previously taught in both the Morgan County and Rockdale County School System. She also taught hospital bound patients with traumatic brain injuries at Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Special Education from Georgia Southern in 1995 and is currently working on her Master’s in Education from the same institution.

Newton County’s Teacher of the Year program would not be possible without the support of our community. As a result, the Newton County School System and the Newton County Chamber of Commerce would like to extend special thanks to the Chamber Champions, sponsors of the 2022 Teacher of the Year program: Abbey Hospice; AT&T; BB&T; Beaver Manufacturing; Bridgestone Golf; BD; City of Covington; Covington Ford; The Covington News; Facebook; General Mills; GPTC; Ginn Motor Company; High Priority Plumbing; MAU; Newton County Government; Newton Federal Bank; Newton County Water & Sewer; Nisshinbo Automotive; Northside; Oxford College; Piedmont Newton; Pinnacle Bank; Qualified Staffing; SKC, Inc.; Snapping Shoals EMC; SteelCo; Sunbelt Builders, Inc.; Synovus; Takeda; Tread Technologies (Michelin); United Bank of Covington; The Center; Newton College & Career Academy; Edgar Law Firm, and Newton County IDA.

For more information on the Newton County School System Teacher of the Year program, contact Ms. Sherri Partee, Director of Public Relations for Newton County Schools at [email protected].