Thomas County School System officials have named Jill Grimes, first grade teacher at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School, as the District Teacher of the Year.
“Being named Teacher of the Year for the Thomas County School System is such an honor,” Mrs. Grimes said. “I am incredibly grateful to work with the most amazing and supportive colleagues. Our system is composed of phenomenal people on every level. The support of my coworkers, family, and friends is what has shaped me into the educator I am today. To represent our system at state will be a privilege.”
Grimes has been a teacher for three years with Thomas County Schools. She began her teaching career in Mitchell County in 2008 first as a fifth grade teacher in math, science and social studies, and then as a Pre-K teacher at Mitchell County Elementary School where she taught for eight years.
Garrison-Pilcher Principal Sharonda Wilson said, “Mrs. Jill Grimes is an integral part of our staff. Her demonstration of effectively differentiating learning experiences, her desire to meet the needs of all students, and her love for students are only a few reasons why she holds the title of Thomas County Schools Teacher of the Year. She has a passion to impact students' learning as well as their social and emotional well-being. Our school family and I are extremely proud of Mrs. Grimes."
Grimes graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a graduate of Thomas County Central High School and says she “feels strongly about giving back to the school system that initially instilled a love of learning in her.”
Grimes believes that all children can learn with the correct tools along with encouragement and understanding.
“By teaching a child to continue on through each obstacle and never give up, I am also helping them take ownership of their learning,” Grimes said. “I have learned that the simple act of encouragement allows students to share their interests and all the things that impacted who they are. This helps build an essential bond of trust and respect and shows students they matter and their education is valued.”
The Teacher of the Year (TOTY) process began in February. School winners were judged on a written application and an interview before an impartial committee. Judges submitted independent ratings for each candidate, and the person with the highest overall average was named District Teacher of the Year.
Robin Cartright, Curriculum Director, who oversees the Teacher of the Year process, said, “We are so very fortunate to have such dedicated and innovative teachers in all of our schools. The interview panel had a very difficult job in selecting the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year. We are delighted to have Jill Grimes represent Thomas County at the state level.”
Superintendent Dr. Lisa Williams said, “I congratulate Mrs. Grimes on this milestone achievement in her career. I feel very fortunate to have her as part of our school system family, and she is a great representative of the many fine teachers that we have throughout our district. I have full confidence that she will represent us well at the state-level competition.”