Catoosa County Schools
Michele Cribb always dreamed of being a teacher.
As a member of a military family, Michele spent her childhood moving around the world. She loved learning, but lacked confidence – something that changed as she entered adulthood.
“I came to realize that all I had been through prepared me to become a very hardworking, resilient, and caring woman,” Michele says. “I knew I had to become a teacher and help students, in the same situations I had been in, to overcome their obstacles.”
Michele, now a fourth grade teacher at Tiger Creek Elementary School in Catoosa County, was recognized as her district’s Teacher of the Year. She received a $500 grant from the GFPE, which she’ll use to continue building raised beds in her class garden.
She describes her philosophy of education as a belief that all children can learn and should be pushed to their greatest potential.
“I love teaching math, science, and social studies, but I believe my job is much greater than academics,” she says. “I have spent the last five years building relationships. One way that occurred to me was by creating a class garden. We worked on building relationships, community, and a love for growing your own food!”
Dr. Phyllis Johnson-Porter
Richmond County Schools
Dr. Phyllis Johnson-Porter’s journey to education began at a young age. She lived with her family in a city housing project, and singing and music permeated their home.
Her parents had few financial resources, she says, but encouraged her desire to become an educator by giving her the opportunity to study music privately.
“In addition to private piano lessons, teachers from elementary school to college influenced my desire to become an educator,” she says. “My educational journey continues as I seek to positively influence the behaviors, actions, and holistic development of all students.”
Now a K-5 music educator at Jenkins-White Elementary School, Dr. Johnson-Porter describes teaching as a gift and an opportunity to “positively and indelibly” influence students.
“Teaching is an art,” she says, “and a creative and powerful means of imparting knowledge.”
Dr. Johnson-Porter was named Richmond County Schools’ Teacher of the Year, and received a $500 grant from GFPE. She plans to use the funding to purchase individual Schulmerich Choir Chimes for her students.
“Having these instruments as an additional resource will positively impact students, allowing them to strengthen their musical skills and abilities, as well as the lifelong habits of cooperative collaboration, patience, perseverance, social skills, self-discipline, and responsibility,” she says.