Edwards Named 2024 GMEA District 4 TOTY

Johnny Edwards Named Georgia Music Educator Association's District 4 Teacher of the Year
Posted on 02/14/2024
Johnny EdwardsNewton County School System is proud to announce that Mr. Johnny Edwards, music teacher and choral director at Newton High School, has been awarded the prestigious title of Georgia Music Educator Association's (GMEA) District 4 Teacher of the Year. With eight years of exemplary service in Newton County Schools, Mr. Edwards has consistently demonstrated his commitment to music education and the growth of his students.

Mr. Edwards brings a wealth of experience to his role, having earned a Bachelor’s of Music Education (BME) from Georgia Southern University and a Master’s of Music Education with an emphasis in choral music (MME) from Georgia State and College University. His journey in education began in 1997 as the choral director for both Richmond Hill Middle and Richmond Hill High schools in Bryan County, Georgia. Over the years, he has received numerous awards and accolades, including being named "Teacher of The Year" at Richmond Hill Middle School in 2003.

In 2016, Mr. Edwards joined Newton High School as the chorus director, where his passion for teaching flourished. Under his guidance, the Newton High School chorus has consistently received superior ratings at the yearly evaluation entitled "Large Group Performance Evaluation," with the upcoming event scheduled for March 20, 2024, at the First Baptist Church of Decatur. In addition to chorus, Mr. Edwards teaches AP Music Theory and Music Theory at Newton High School.

One of Mr. Edwards' key strengths lies in his genuine love for teaching and watching students grow over the years. He expressed, "I love the fact that I get to see the students for more than one year. For some of them, I see them all four years. I am afforded the opportunity to watch them grow from freshmen to seniors."

The highlight of Mr. Edwards' school day is hearing his students make music. He has set high standards for his students, emphasizing a commitment to being full musicians. His students have embraced the chorus theme, "Mediocrity Is Not An Option," and have shown dedication and positivity in their daily work ethic and performances.

Upon receiving the news of being named Georgia Music Educator Association's District 4 Teacher of the Year, Mr. Edwards expressed feelings of honor, surprise, and humility. He acknowledges the excellence of his fellow educators in Newton, Rockdale, Dekalb, Dekalb City Schools, Morgan, and Jasper counties, making the recognition even more special.

Looking ahead, Mr. Edwards plans to continue teaching at Newton High School and has a vision to expand the chorus program through increased recruitment efforts. He aims to travel to middle and elementary schools in other counties to perform and encourage students to join the choir, fostering growth and community engagement.

Mr. Edwards has not only made a significant impact within the walls of Newton High School but has also extended his influence beyond by working with the Arts Association team. As an assistant to District 4 Educator Lenae Rose, he contributes to the positive atmosphere and collaborative spirit that defines his approach to education.

"Mr. Edwards' recognition as the Georgia Music Educator Association's District 4 Teacher of the Year is a source of immense pride for Newton High School,” said Dr. Shannon Buff, principal of Newton High School. “His eight years of dedicated service and commitment to music education have significantly impacted our students. Mr. Edwards' passion for teaching and vision for program expansion showcase his dedication to fostering musical excellence within our school and beyond."