Deal announces winners of Innovation in Teaching Competition

November 20, 2015
Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the five winners of this year’s Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers who utilize innovative instructional strategies to advance student achievement. This year’s competition rewarded teachers in the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) education, language and literacy skills, blended learning and innovative practices to close the achievement gap. Funding for the program is provided by Georgia’s Innovation Fund, a competitive grant program. 
 
“Effective, engaging teachers are our most vital asset in providing every Georgia student with a world-class education,” said Deal. “That’s why we should celebrate and reward our most outstanding teachers who bring innovation to the classroom, more efficiently and effectively preparing their students for the workforce or higher education. As we continue building upon success in our classrooms, our communities grow stronger as a result."
 
Each teacher will receive a $3,000 stipend and a $4,000 school grant to support and strengthen innovative instructional strategies. In addition, Georgia Public Broadcasting will film each of the winning educators teaching a unit and conduct an interview about their preparation for the unit. The videos, along with the educators’ unit plan and supplementary materials, will be made available to other educators, parents, institutions of higher education and educational stakeholders. The videos, unit plans and supplementary materials from previous rounds of the competition are currently available on Georgiastandards.org.
 
The five winners along with the subject area(s) and grade level(s) of each winning unit, are listed below.
 
Farhat Ahmad
Ninth-10th grades, World, Multicultural and American Literature
McClarin Success Academy
Fulton County Schools
 
Courtney Bryant
Second grade, Engineering
Charles R. Drew Charter School
Atlanta Public Schools
 
Danielle LeePow
Fifth grade, Science
KIPP South Fulton Academy
Fulton County Schools
 
Stuart Ogburn
Fourth grade, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies
Norton Park Elementary School
Cobb County School District
 
Tom White
Ninth-12th grades, Audio Video Technology and Film
Rockdale Career Academy
Rockdale County Public Schools
 
Principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, district staff and Georgia Department of Education Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, School Improvement and Curriculum staff nominated teachers for the Innovation in Teaching Competition this fall. 
 
About the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund invests in public education entities that aggressively develop and scale programs that enable Georgia educators to improve student performance and tackle our state’s most significant challenges in education. The fund began with a $19.4 million investment as a part of Georgia’s Race to the Top plan. Under Race to the Top, the Innovation Fund funded 23 grants to programs focused on providing applied learning opportunities to students, creating teacher and leader induction programs, growing the teacher and leader pipeline and developing or expanding charter schools. To continue the Innovation Fund’s work beyond Race to the Top, Deal has appropriated state funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 budgets. The state will also seek contributions from philanthropic organizations, nonprofits and businesses to provide start-up capital for promising innovations. The Innovation Fund also operates the Innovation in Teaching Competition, a recognition and reward opportunity for teachers who utilize innovative teaching strategies to advance student achievement. More information about the Innovation Fund can be found on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website.