Harrison High School’s Paulette Allard Named Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist

Harrison High School’s Paulette Allard started her journey as the Cobb County School District’s Teacher of the Year (TOTY) as she rode into the school gym on a Zamboni-like vehicle back in August. She went on to leave her concrete handprints in the sidewalk of Marietta Square as a permanent tribute to her success as a teacher, and she soon may leave her mark on educators across Georgia.

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) named Allard as one of the 10 finalists for the state’s Teacher of the Year. The 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year winner will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The Georgia TOTY will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

A panel of judges including teachers, past Georgia TOTY winners and finalists, administrators and community leaders selected Allard as a finalist after reading the applications submitted by 150 district level TOTYs from across the state.

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct interviews and observe speeches given by the finalists. The GaDOE will announce the winner June 12.

Allard, who teaches Honors Biology and Forensic Science, started her third career—a teacher—13 years ago at Harrison High School where her passion for education blossomed.

During the TOTY handprint unveiling on Marietta Square, CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said Allard is able to use her experience as an U.S. Army nurse and genetics researcher to help the students apply what they learn in the classroom to their lives and future careers.

When describing her non-traditional journey to teaching, Allard quoted one of her favorite poets, Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Allard’s students describe her classes as fun lessons that relate to the real world.

“Her classroom is different every day. I never know what to expect,” said Whitney, a Harrison High senior in Allard’s Forensics Science class.

One of her former students, Harrison senior Jennifer, said Allard’s stories of real-life situations have inspired her to go on to college and study medicine.

“I know how much work Ms. Allard puts into everything,” Jennifer said. “She is a teacher, but she is also one of the club sponsors, and she is involved with so many aspects of the Harrison community that seeing her finally be recognized for all that she does is truly amazing.”

After Allard was named the CCSD TOTY, Principal Ashlynn Campbell described what really sets Allard apart from her peers. She goes out of her way to help other teachers, and she is great at making learning relevant for her students.

“She is so innovative. She integrates technology, and she does a great job of making connections with her students in her science class,” added Campbell. “She has a constant connection to the modern world, which is so important.”