Westwood's LeLe Dean Named Dalton Public Schools Teacher Of Year

Thursday, August 9, 2018

LeLe Dean knew from a young age that she had a calling for education. As she watched her mother instill in others a passion for reading by selling World Book Encyclopedias, and listened to stories of the classroom from her grandmother, a high school teacher and later social worker, she was influenced to start her career in teaching, too. 

Ms. Dean started teaching first grade in Twiggs County. She worked in Pre-K and para-pro positions at Westwood before starting first grade again in 2012. She received the Westwood ParaPro of the Year in 2011. Now, with 25 years in education, Ms. Dean was named the 2018-19 Dalton Public Schools Teacher of the Year. 

Ms. Dean was announced the winner at the district's employee convocation on Aug. 1 at the Wink Theater. Shortly after thanking her colleagues for the recognition, Jason Denson with Ford of Dalton approached the stage with a giant silver key and the actual car keys to the year-long use of a new 2018 Ford Escape. 

Mr. Denson addressed the theater full of DPS educators. "I have a lot respect for what each and every one of you in this room do for our children and our community each day," he said. "Growing up here and living here, this community means the world to me and my family, and I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this sponsorship." 

Westwood Principal Scott Ehlers said this recognition deserves to go to someone like Ms. Dean. "LeLe is always thinking of ways to reach and motivate her students," he said. 

Assistant Principal Marla Pridgen added, "LeLe is always so positive and trying new strategies with her students." 

In her Teacher of the Year application, Ms. Dean said she is not comfortable with labeling herself an outstanding teacher, but she can share what she finds important and what she has learned from her peers and mentor teachers. 

"As teachers, we are called to be difference makers in the lives of our students," said Ms. Dean. "As long as we can remember this, and remember how lucky we are to spend our days creating a passion for learning in our students, we are going to be successful in making a difference in the lives of children," she said. "If we remember to keep a good attitude and be joyful in our calling, we can continue to shine a light on the profession of teaching." 

Ms. Dean said she feels fortunate to have found a district that emphasizes the importance of relationships in learning. She works on celebrating each child's individual strengths and talents in her classroom, so they feel valued and respected. "I've learned that once you've developed relationships with students based on love and respect, students are able to flourish," she explained. "My hope is that learning to work together and support one another will help my students become grownups who are difference makers." 

Ms. Dean also discussed demonstrating to students the importance of being lifelong learners. 

"As teachers, I believe we should be examples of lifelong learners. We should always be evolving to meet the needs of a changing world. We should be excited about learning new ways to engage our students. We should be willing to step outside of our comfort zone, to find ways to keep our students challenged and excited about learning." 

Other school-level Teacher of the Year honorees include: Amy Norwood, Blue Ridge School; Julie Fischer, Brookwood School; Holly King, City Park School; Veronica Vital, Park Creek School; Lynnda Higgins, Roan School; Susan Jones, Dalton Middle School; Sheila Yarbrough, Morris Innovative High School; and runner-up Coulter Redding, Dalton High School. 

Through sponsorships from Parrish Construction Company, Carroll Daniel Construction, J. W. Buckley and Associates, Inc., Georgia United Credit Union, Shaw Industries, Dalton Utilities and First Bank of Dalton, all school-level Teacher of the Year winners received $250, and Redding received an additional $500 as the runner up. Ms. Dean received an additional $1,000.



Chattanooga State’s Helping Hands Fund Celebrates Triumph

Ronald McDonald House Charities Of Chattanooga Hosts Drive-by Parade For Scholarship Winners

Woolfitt Receives Lee’s Excellence In Scholarship Award


No doubt, the year 2020 thus far has been a year to remember. There is also no doubt that the generous support of Chattanooga State employees and donors will be remembered with gratitude. ... (click for more)

The senior class of 2020 may not be able to walk across the graduation stage or hold their diplomas up high alongside their peers. However, the 24 Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Dr. William Woolfitt has been named the recipient of Lee University’s 2020 Excellence in Scholarship Award. President Paul Conn made this announcement during a recent faculty and staff meeting. ... (click for more)



Student Scene

Chattanooga State’s Helping Hands Fund Celebrates Triumph

No doubt, the year 2020 thus far has been a year to remember. There is also no doubt that the generous support of Chattanooga State employees and donors will be remembered with gratitude. #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity, was launched on May 5 as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. At Chattanooga State, the Helping Hands Fund ... (click for more)

Ronald McDonald House Charities Of Chattanooga Hosts Drive-by Parade For Scholarship Winners

The senior class of 2020 may not be able to walk across the graduation stage or hold their diplomas up high alongside their peers. However, the 24 Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Chattanooga scholarship winners are excited for a celebration all their own. The Ronald McDonald House in Chattanooga is hosting a drive-by parade for the recipients of their scholarship, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has Record 71 In Hospital With Coronavirus; Tennessee Has 25 More Deaths

The number of coronavirus patients in Chattanooga hospitals has risen to the highest level yet - 71. That includes 37 from Hamilton County. The previous high was 65 on June 10. The number of those in Intensive Care has dropped back down to 17. Hamilton County has had 104 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 3,180. Deaths remain at 36. There ... (click for more)

UTC Commencement Ceremonies Are Canceled

UTC officials have canceled commencement ceremonies that had been postponed to August, due to COVID. Officials said, "Back in March when COVID-19 first made its way to Chattanooga, a conclusion was reached to postpone commencement ceremonies until August. We hoped the virus would run its course and that we could safely celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 in August. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Mandates Are A Bluff - And Response (11)

Via something called an "Executive Order," the facemask mandate will go into effect in Hamilton County on Friday until Sept. 8. This is an illegal executive order and carries no legal weight. Those issuing it know this, which is why Jim Coppinger was too cowardly to issue it himself, but passed off the dirty deed to Dr. Paul Hendricks, who is not even a duly elected representative ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Made In His Image

Max Lucado, Pastor Emeritus of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, has been my favorite Christian author for many, many years. Fifteen years ago, he was named as The Best Pastor in the United States and his incredible gift is best found in the comforting words that he has used in almost 100 books. The experts tell us that today there are more than 135 million copies of Lucado’s ... (click for more)