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Chorus teacher is system teach of year
1115 Teacher of year Durden
Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer, left, and BoE Chairwoman Lily Baker, right, listen as Amanda Durden, Liberty County’s teacher of the year, speaks to the audience after receiving her award. - photo by Photo by Lauren Hunsberger

Teachers of the year

Jennifer Gilstrap, Liberty County Pre-K Center
Lisa Wright, Button Gwinnett Elementary school
Matthew Anderson, Frank Long Elementary school

Christina Moody, Jordye Bacon Elementary school
Suzanne Harris, Joseph Martin Elementary school
Jacqueline Jackson, Liberty Elementary school
Janet Demmin, Lyman Hall Elementary school
Melissa Aspinwall, Taylors Creek Elementary school
Shannon Dasher, Waldo Pafford Elementary school
Freda Gardner, Lewis Frasier Middle school
Garry Lawson, Midway Middle school
Mary Ryan, Snelson Golden Middle school
Amanda Durden, Bradwell Institute
Brian Nixon, Liberty County High school

Although many educators claim teaching is in their blood, few mean it literally. But, Amanda Durden, Bradwell Institute chorus and music teacher and Liberty County School System’s 2010-11 teacher of the year, said her talent really does come from her parents, both of whom were teachers for many decades.
Covering elementary, middle and high schools, Durden has worked in the county for
26 years, 17 of them at Brad-well.
She said she simply can’t imagine doing anything else.  
At a reception on Tuesday night, as Liberty County educators gathered to celebrate outstanding teachers from all of the system’s schools, Durden received the overall teacher of the year award.
“I am very overwhelmed and very honored, truly,” Durden said after she recovered from the shock of hearing her name called. Her parents, who said they didn’t know Durden would win the award, traveled to Liberty County from Madison and were at her side when Superintendent Dr. Judy Scherer announced the winner.
“We’re so proud of her,” her father, W.H. Ashburn, said.
In addition to her parents, Durden credits her success to the school system, which she said understands the importance of music, her specialty.
“I feel like fine arts are very important in the lives of children and I’m just very thankful to liberty County for funding it,” she said. “They’ve always made it a priority and a lot of counties can‘t say that.”
Scherer spoke briefly about Durden and her impact on students.
“Since the first time I met Amanda Durden, I saw how her love and passion for teaching and for her students stood out,” Scherer said.
Each school selects a teacher of the year based on peer nominations. One nominee is then selected as the system’s overall teacher of the year
Scherer said she’s proud of all the teachers.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be nominated by your peers, represent your school and represent your profession,” she said.
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