Photo: Vanecia Thompson
For half a day on Friday, September 13, 2019, DeKalb County School District’s Barack H. Obama Magnet School of Technology transformed into a hub of celebration, fellowship and good will.
Pre-kindergarten teacher Johnathon Hines was named the 2019-2020 Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Department of Education’s Bright from the Start Department of Early Care and Learning. As a winner, Hines received a check for $7,500 which includes a personal stipend of $3,000, $2,500 to use for a classroom makeover and $2,000 for Barack Obama Elementary.
Barack H. Obama Magnet School, DCSD and Bright from the Start representatives joined Hines’ family and friends on the morning of September 13 for a surprise celebration and formal check presentation.
Hines was told there would be a surprise reader for his two classes and that he should be preparing for a parent-teacher conference. Little did he know that Barack H. Obama Magnet School Principal Angela Thomas-Bethea, DCSD Superintendent/CEO Dr. R. Stephen Green, and others were waiting to shout, ‘SURPRISE!’
As Georgia’s Pre-K Teacher of the Year, Hines will travel across the state and share best practices to use in the classroom. What works, what doesn’t work and classroom success stories will be just some of the wisdom he shares along the way.
“I want to thank my admins at the county and state office. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be standing here today–you’ve pushed me in ways I never thought I would be pushed, and helped me reach my highest potential as Georgia Pre-K Teacher of the Year,” said Hines. “I’m speechless. To be a male in a Pre-K program speaks volumes, and I hope that this platform allows me to show other males how important it is to give back to the community, to show that a male can be more than just an athlete or entertainer. We need that, as a community, all across the state. Not as a high school teacher, or as a coach, but as someone who can make an immediate impact. A Pre-K teacher has an important job.”
Photo: Vanecia Thompson
Hines was selected for demonstrating impactful teaching methods with measurable results, according to Georgia’s Bright from the Start commissioner Amy Jacobs.
“Mr. Hines was chosen as part of a three-part process,” Jacobs said. “He came in for an interview, he submitted a video of himself teaching, and we actually came in for a period of observation. The highest score is the winner. This is an evidenced-based competition where the best of the best wins. Mr. Hines is a great teacher.”
Dr. Green looks upon Hines as a shining example of what the district has to offer to students and the community at large.
“We’ve all been inspired by a teacher who helped us to see the best in ourselves; to go the extra mile; who were often our heroes when we needed it most,” said Dr. Green. “Thank you, Mr. Hines, for going the extra mile and for creating a standard to teach and lead with excellence. As you know, education is not a one-size-fits-all arena. Every year brings a different group of young students with varying needs. And every school needs a teacher like Mr. Hines: one who inspires students to love being at school. This is what we want for all of DeKalb County School District students, and what all teachers should aspire to.”
Students and staff concluded the celebration with a school-wide parade for Mr. Hines.