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.



Lee’s Steffanell Presents At 2018 ACTFL Convention

Lee Hosts Shakespeare Political Science And Philosophy Symposium

Local 7th Grade Teacher Wins Field Trip For Students And Principal


Dr. Alexander Steffanell, associate professor of Spanish at Lee University, presented at the 2018 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention in New Orleans, La With over ... (click for more)

Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities recently held its third annual Undergraduate Intercollegiate Political Science and Philosophy Symposium. A two-day event, ... (click for more)

During a field trip to The Enterprise Center, The Company Lab, and TechTown at the Edney Innovation Center on Wednesday, seventh grade students and faculty from Ivy Academy, winner of Chattanooga ... (click for more)


Student Scene

Lee’s Steffanell Presents At 2018 ACTFL Convention

Dr. Alexander Steffanell, associate professor of Spanish at Lee University, presented at the 2018 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention in New Orleans, La With over 12,500 language educator members, the ACTFL convention draws attendees from across the globe. ACTFL, founded in 1967, has become one of the leading organizations in innovating language education. ... (click for more)

Lee Hosts Shakespeare Political Science And Philosophy Symposium

Lee University’s Department of History, Political Science & Humanities recently held its third annual Undergraduate Intercollegiate Political Science and Philosophy Symposium. A two-day event, the symposium was held in the Helen DeVos College of Education and focused on the political thought of Shakespeare. After registration and coffee on Friday afternoon, students broke ... (click for more)

Breaking News

County Schools, Other Schools To Open On A 2-Hour Delay Monday Morning

Hamilton County Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Monday due to a threat of slippery road conditions in the higher elevations overnight. Officials said, "Below freezing temperatures are expected in areas of Hamilton County which could cause travel problems in the morning. Buses will run two hours later than normal in the morning and schools will begin two hours later. ... (click for more)

Stephen Moore, 34, Shot And Killed Early Sunday Morning

Stephen Laton Moore, 34, was shot and killed early Sunday morning on East 5th Street. At approximately 12:19 a.m., Chattanooga Police were dispatched to a report of a person shot in the 2500 block of East 5th Street. Upon arrival, officers located the victim suffering from a fatal gunshot wound. Hamilton County EMS responded and pronounced him deceased. CPD Major ... (click for more)

Opinion

TVA Land Grab

The Georgetown land grab is just ‘Business as Usual’ for TVA. For the past 80 years they’ve shown their stripes in this matter - 170,000 acres seized at LBL, countless acreage taken in the Tennessee River Valley. Land taken for coal and nuclear sites. All by the same play book. All from average people. We want this, you have this, we get this. I worked with TVA as a ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Greatest 4 Minutes

I would venture to say I know more sports trivia than the next guy. I’ve spent a fun lifetime watching and listening and learning so why is it, on the early eve of my three-score-and-ten, I never knew about “the best four minutes in sports” until just now? Oh, for decades I’ve know the annual Army-Navy football game, the latest just played this weekend, was special. A half-century ... (click for more)