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Four Clayton educators among state's best

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By Jeylin White

jwhite@news-daily.com

Four Clayton County teachers have earned 2011 Georgia Master Teacher certification, Gov. Nathan Deal recently announced.

The certification comes with a state-issued document that officially recognizes them as being among the state's leading educators.

"This designation is not easily earned," said Clayton County Public Schools Spokesman Charles White. "These teachers must exhibit exemplary skills daily."

Those honored were Mt. Zion Primary School teachers, Neva Seldon, and Ave-Maria Tatum; Forest Park Middle School's Sarah Tate, and Tanya Clarke, of the school system's Professional Learning Department.

The four are among an elite group of 86 classroom instructors who received this annual statewide recognition. The selection for Master Teacher certification is based on an educator's classroom performance, Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) results, documentation of student growth, and professional practices.

Mt. Zion Primary School's Seldon and Tatum are augmented Early Intervention Program (EIP) teachers. Tatum is also a former district teacher of the year.

Tate, of Forest Park Middle, is an eighth-grade social studies teacher, while Clarke, a teacher development specialist, has been promoted to the position of instructional coach.

"Instructional coaches earn the Georgia Master Teacher certification by providing evidence of effective coaching practices," said Clarke. "These practices lead to improved student achievement and progress."

Master Teachers are part of the "go-to group" for insights, actions, reactions, and recommendations in education, she said. "Teachers are also frequently invited to serve in local, state, regional, and national education groups, as the voice for Georgia educators, and as influential professionals in their communities," Clarke added.

In order for teachers to earn this certification, they must have at least three years of classroom experience, and evidence that their instruction has led to student achievement. If teachers receive the designation, they can retain the status for seven years.

The program was established in 2005, when it was authorized by legislation during the Georgia General Assembly. It is coordinated by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC).

"We applaud the selection of these teachers as 2011 Georgia Master Teachers," said White. "The designation of these four educators is just one more reason why we say that great things are happening in Clayton County Public Schools."