Prince is Grady’s Teacher of the Year

A Washington Middle School science teacher was named Grady County Teacher of the Year at an early Friday morning breakfast meeting held at the VanLandingham Center.  
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction Laura Elliott made the surprise announcement that Scott Prince had been chosen Grady’s top teacher. Prince was one of seven teachers vying for the distinction of becoming this year’s county winner. Elliott, who oversees the Teacher of the Year program for Grady County recognized Teacher of the Year representatives from each school and presented each a certificate.
Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard thanked all Teacher of the Year nominees for their contributions to the school system. “I would like to congratulate the Teachers of the Year from each school. The judges had a difficult time as they do each year. Grady County would be well represented by any of the seven teachers,” said Dr. Gilliard. “Mr. Prince now has the opportunity to represent each teacher in the Grady County School System as he moves to the next level. I am very proud of Mr. Prince and know that he will represent our teachers and system well as he moves on to the next step in the competition.”
Prince is a product of the Grady County School system having attended Southside Elementary School, Shiver and graduated from Cairo High School in 1999. Following high school graduation, he attended Valdosta State University where he earned his degree and certification in Middle Grades Education (with specialization in science and social studies). He has been teaching for nine years and is currently teaching seventh grade life science and eighth grade physical science on the Pre-AP team at Washington Middle School.
He and his wife, Angela, are residents of Cairo and have one daughter, Eva Prince.
Prince reflected on his selection as Teacher of the Year, calling it an extremely humbling experience due to the incredible talent pool of educators that exist within the Grady County Public School system.  “I am honored to be placed in the same category of passionate and creative teachers who challenge, inspire and support their students every day,” Prince said. “As a professional educator and scientist, my number one goal is to foster scientific advancement and understanding within my students. When you can spark their curiosity, ultimately your hope is for students to choose a career path within the scientific community.”
Washington Middle School Principal Tilda Brimm describes Prince as an out-of-the-box thinker who brings science alive in his classes. “He is always on the cutting edge of technology and implements innovative activities in his classes on a daily basis. But what is the most impressive about Mr. Prince is his love for children and his relentless efforts to make sure that he provides his students authentic learning experiences each day. Visiting his classes is always enlightening for me as a former teacher and lifelong learner.”
She added, “Washington Middle School is working hard to improve student achievement and Mr. Prince is certainly a teacher who is playing a major part in making Washington Middle School a great place to learn.”
Prince was awarded the use of a new 2016 Jeep Wrangler for one year by Sam Carnline, owner of Stalling Motors in Cairo. Carnline says he feels it is important to recognize those who are “striving for academic excellence in the community.”
The Cairo Kiwanis Club also awarded the county level winner a monetary gift of $500 and each school Teacher of the Year representative received $100.
The county level winner is selected by a team of judges made up of the former Grady County Teacher of the Year, a member of the Board of Education, a community member, central office administrator, business member and a retired teacher. The candidates are judged based on classroom observation, responses to questions from the Teacher of the Year application, and letters of reference.
Grady County’s Teacher of the Year discussed his philosophy of teaching in the portfolio he submitted to the judges as part of the Teacher of the Year application process. In an excerpt from the portfolio he wrote, ”Every additional year that I teach, I gain a deeper understanding of modern physics, chemistry and biology along with pedagogy delivery methods. This is the true beauty of teaching science in a world that needs future scientists to combat the ever evolving problems of climate change, deforestation, animal extinction, alternative energy fuel sources, and the possible emergence of fully self-aware artificial intelligence. To first teach our future generations the boldness to tackle these demanding issues, we, as educators and scientists, must learn new technologies and theories to provide a solid foundation for our students to build their individual theories upon. Without introducing challenging concepts (quantum mechanics, cold nuclear fusion, bioremediation) in the middle grades that require deep thinking and analysis, these students will be hindered or may possibly view these concepts as unobtainable later in their educational careers.”
Winning this award at the county level qualifies Prince to compete to become Georgia Teacher of the Year. He must now respond to additional questions before his portfolio can be submitted to the state for competition with the other 179 system winners.
“I will represent Washington Middle School, Grady County Public Schools and, most importantly, God to the best of my ability in the state Teacher of the Year competition. At this level, I will be compared to talented and innovative teachers across the state of Georgia. While this is an intimidating task set before me, my students will see what it is all about to be a  “Washington Tiger” and “Cairo Syrupmaker,” Prince said.   
He further commented,“I view this as a medium to show students that great things can be achieved as long as you are willing to work hard and make sacrifices to achieve your goals. I will be entering the state competition using items of personally constructed research and design projects; these include a three-dimensional, multidirectional cloaking device, a Ruben’s Tube (flame throwing audio visualizer), a gravity space-time simulator and a computer programmed playable laser harp. Regardless of the outcome, I am excited and thankful for the opportunity to continually model scientific academic success in a positive, competitive spirit for all of my students.”

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