Representatives from Georgia Power presented the awards to these two local teachers at an event in Dalton.
Teacher nominations were submitted to Georgia Power by the 18 Georgia public colleges and universities that have a school of education. To be eligible for the grant, candidates had to be in the top 25 percent of their class academically, be a first-year teacher employed by a public school in Georgia, and demonstrate a high aptitude for teaching.
“The new jobs being created in Georgia require an educated work force, and businesses must lend their support to improving the quality of education to ensure Georgia’s economic viability continues to flourish,” said Kevin Fletcher, Georgia Power’s vice president of Economic Development. “This program is Georgia Power’s way of telling new teachers that we appreciate their contributions and we hope they will remain committed to the profession.”
Georgia Power began the program in 2004 as a way to encourage new teachers to stay in the profession and to provide them with much-needed funds to purchase classroom supplies, equipment or materials not provided by their schools.
“Teacher retention continues to be a major concern in Georgia. In the next four years, 50 percent of our baby boomer-age teachers will retire. It’s critical that we hire a significant number of new teachers and give them incentives to stay with the profession.”
Evans and Utz can use the $1,000 grants to purchase items such as books, educational CDs or DVDs, computers or projectors, or other supplies. Utz is a graduate of North Georgia College & State University, and Evans graduated from Kennesaw State University.
“We are delighted to award these grants to these deserving teachers,” noted Fletcher. “The average teacher spends approximately $500 out of their own pocket each year on classroom materials. This award helps alleviate this burden and allows them to be creative in the classroom.”