CCSD Teacher of the Year Nicole Kempson Cements Place in Cobb History

During the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s “Give Our Schools a Hand” celebration, Cobb County School District Teacher of the Year, Nicole Kempson, reveals her handprints on Marietta Square October 5. Kempson teaches at Lindley Sixth Grade Academy.

While communities around the world celebrated the impact of teachers on World Teachers Day, Lindley Sixth Grade Academy teacher Nicole Kempson knelt on the sidewalk of Marietta Square to unveil her handprints that cement her in history as a Cobb County School District (CCSD) Teacher of the Year.

Despite the fanfare of a school pep rally in her honor when CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale named her the Cobb Teacher of the Year in August, the Hollywood-like atmosphere of the handprint unveiling ceremony still surprised Kempson.

“It is more than I ever thought would actually happen,” the Cobb Teacher of the Year (TOTY) said. “I can’t believe all of this is done for us. I was overcome with emotion. I was trying my best not to cry.”

During the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s “Give Our Schools a Hand” celebration, the Cobb community came together October 5 to recognize the Cobb Teacher of the Year’s role in student success.

“We are successful because of the hard work our teachers do,” Superintendent Ragsdale said. “The students at Lindley Sixth Grade Academy are able to experience the tremendous teaching abilities that Nicole brings to the classroom each and every day.”

Before Kempson unveiled her handprints, she listened to some of her former students in the Lindley Middle School Band ensemble serenade her inside The Strand Theater.

She still talks to her former students. They come visit her. She views them as part of her family, as her children. The relationships Kempson builds with her students are important because according to the TOTY, “each relationship has an impact on who you are and who you are going to become.”

Aiming to show the students that everyone makes mistakes, she is open and honest with her students about both her successes and failures.

“What is important is that you learn from them and not make the same mistake twice and be better than you were before because you learned your lesson the first time,” the TOTY tells her students.

When explaining her road to becoming the Teacher of the Year, Kempson credited her family for giving her the strength and fortitude not to give up. She wants to do the same for her students.

“I worked extremely hard to get here and will continue to work hard so I can be the example and the hero that my children look up to, as well as my students,” Kempson told the theater full of students, educators, and community members.

Kempson is a role model for her students.

“She inspires me to be a wonderful person,” Lindley Sixth Grade Academy student Carla said smiling. “What stands out to me about Ms. Kempson is her spirit. She has a lot of faith in us. She believes in us. She knows we will become great in life. She helps us with our goals.”

Carla heard about her future teacher long before she sat down in her class. The Teacher of the Year also taught Carla’s brother, who came home every day with a smile on his face because of Kempson.

“She is so full of happiness. She’s an excellent teacher,” Carla added. “She deserves the Teacher of the Year award because she is like no other teacher.”

Carla’s classmate Nicholas described Kempson as his favorite teacher. He thinks it is important to honor teachers like her because of all that they do for students. They help you reach your goals in life, he said.

Carla and Nicholas watched as Kempson pulled back the blue cloth to unveil her handprints on the Marietta Square sidewalk. She was happy her students were able to witness her historical Teacher of the Year moment.

“I really do this for my kids,” she said.