Superintendent Ragsdale Surprises Teachers of the Year

Cobb County School District Superintendent Chris Ragsdale surprised the 2017 Teachers of the Year on July 25. The TOTY Level winners include Stacy Pitts, Vaughan Elementary School; Nicole Kempson, Lindley Sixth Grade Academy; and Holly Hoover, Kennesaw Mountain High School.

One said she was a teacher at heart even as a little kid. Another knew she wanted to be a teacher at 12. The teaching bug bit the third in college.

Although they serve in different teaching roles in schools across the Cobb County School District, they share one thing in common. All three teachers stood out to their colleagues and District leadership as 2017 Teachers of the Year (TOTY).

CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale surprised the TOTY level winners at their schools in front of their colleagues on July 25.

“This is probably one of the best times the entire year when we are able to come out and surprise the Level Teachers of the Year,” Superintendent Ragsdale said.

Vaughan Elementary School STEM-Lab teacher Stacy Pitts was so excited to see the band and superintendent, she dashed out of the cafeteria to grab her camera. She didn’t know the superintendent was there to surprise her and name her the Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

“I’m super excited and very proud to represent my school because I love my school,” Pitts said. I wish everyone could have this feeling and get this recognition because teachers work so hard. This school is fabulous.”

As the oldest of five kids, Pitts assumed the role as teacher as a child. Although she started off in other careers, she eventually found her way back to her roots as a teacher and into the classroom where she has been for 18 years, 11 of which has been at Vaughan Elementary.
Her Vaughan colleagues say she goes above and beyond, always keeps a positive attitude and gets students excited to learn.

Kennesaw Mountain High School teachers were participating in preplanning training when Superintendent Ragsdale popped in to surprise Holly Hoover with the announcement that she is the CCSD High School Level Teacher of the Year.

The shock of the TOTY announcement left the fifth year teacher close to speechless, but she had no problem explaining why she became a teacher.

“I love to help people learn how to express themselves through reading and writing and help them feel accomplished as a person and student as well,” the 10th grade literature teacher said.

As a teacher, Hoover aims to empower her students to believe in themselves and achieve their goals.

The Middle School Level Teacher of the Year, Nicole Kempson, wants to prepare her students for future careers, and she uses her passion for technology to do just that. Kempson teaches science at Lindley Sixth Grade Academy.

“I’m going to do my best to keep doing what I’m doing and making sure my students have everything they need [in order] to know that where they are is not where they are going to end up,” she explained.

When Superintendent Ragsdale named Kempson the Middle School TOTY, her colleagues cheered and hugged her. However, another surprise was standing behind her. She turned around to see her family at the school to congratulate her. One of the special guests included her grandmother who helped inspire Kempson to teach.

Kempson explained why she wanted to teach middle school students.

“I love my sixth graders,” she said. “They are independent, and yet, they still need guidance.”

In addition to being 2017 Teachers of the Year, Hoover and Pitts also share the same mindset about teaching as Kempson.

“I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world,” Kempson declared.