Volume 8 Issue 3 Colquitt County Schools - 710 28th Avenue S. E., Moultrie, Georgia 31768 October 2009
Dates of Interest Colquitt County School System
Teacher of the Year
1 Standard Time Begins
2 Reg Ed Para Math Training
2 Kindergarten ELA Mtg
3 Transportation Mtg
4 ESOL/Spec Ed Mtg
4 1st Grade ELA Mtg
At the annual Teacher of the Year reception held on
5 2nd Grade ELA Mtg October 27th, Colquitt County Schools named Mrs.
5 Elementary Music Teacher Mtg
6 Math Training ESOL/Instr. Prov. (3-5)
Katrina McIntosh (center) its 2010-2011 Teacher of
9 3rd Grade Math Training
10 Payroll Cut Off
10 Counselors/Social Workers Mtg Mrs. McIntosh, a ﬁfth grade teacher at Cox
10 School Nutrition Mgr Mtg
11 3rd Grade Lead Teacher Math Mtg
Elementary School, is in her 22nd year of teaching
12 Payroll Information Due and commented on the experience. “It is an
12 District Admin Mtg
12 5th Grade Math Mtg
overwhelming honor to be recognized for something
13 ESOL/Spec Ed Mtg you feel is such a mission. I love teaching at Cox Elementary School because I see so many
16 Substitute Training
possibilities in our students that they don’t see in themselves. I tell them they can be anything
16 Calendar Committee and do anything if they get a good education.”
17 Math Lead Teacher Mtg-2nd Grade
17 Math Lead Teacher Mtg-4th Grade
18 Rhythm Contest Mrs. Jennie Estes, Stringfellow Elementary School pre-k teacher, and Mr. Emanuel Torralba,
19 ESOL/DOE/Spec Ed Mtg
19 Math Training (ESOL/Instr. Prov.)
Odom Elementary School second grade teacher shared in the prestige of being named as
20 Special Olympics - Winter Games ﬁnalists.
23 Math Mtg (Spec Ed Teachers/Paras)
23 Regular School Board Mtg. Mrs. McIntosh will compete for the Georgia Teacher of the Year recognition that will be decided
25-27 Thanksgiving Holidays
in the spring.
30 3rd Grade ELA Mtg
National School Lunch Week Congratulations!
11 Veteran’s Day Elizabeth Edmondson (Okapilco) and David
Mincey were married on October 17, 2009.
15-21 American Education Week
19 National Parent Involvement Pictured to the right is
Day - www.projectappleseed.org Principal Eric Croft from
22-28 National Family Week Okapilco Elementary
www.nationalfamilyweek.org School. He graciously
served the students
lunch at Okapilco during National School Lunch Christmas Elves Needed
The Children’s Cheer & Toy
Over 11,000 delicious, nutritious, and quality meals Shop needs your help. If you
are served daily throughout the Colquitt County would like to volunteer your
School System. Take time to thank your cafeteria
time or talents contact Denise
staff for the wonderful job they do each and every
day. Pope at 769-6762 or by email at
November 1st Benefits Open
Reset clocks and change
the batteries in your
smoke detectors. Enrollment Ends Hayley Hurst Wright
Elizabeth Mazloum Gray/Achievement Center
Haryl Richardson Doerun
Ja'Net Smith Funston
2011 Teachers of the Year!
Becky Croft teaches math at Colquitt County High School. She received her Bachelor’s in Mathematics
from Wesleyan College and her Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Augusta State University.
Mrs. Croft went on to earn a Gifted endorsement. She is now in her 18th year of teaching. Mrs. Croft shared
her experience with an at-risk student she had worked with to pass the graduation tests, “After receiving
his last set of passing scores, he came bounding into my classroom and literally picked me up. After
putting me down and hugging me, through his tears, he expressed gratitude over and over.” Mrs. Croft
commented, “I don’t believe there is any greater reward, as a teacher, than to know you have had some
part in altering the path of a young person’s life.”
Katrina McIntosh is in her 22nd year of teaching and currently teaches ﬁfth grade at Cox Elementary.
Mrs. McIntosh received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and a Master’s degree in
Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Georgia. Mrs. McIntosh went on to earn her teacher
certiﬁcation from Valdosta State University. This is Mrs. McIntosh’s second time as Cox’s Teacher of the
Year. Mrs. McIntosh stated, “Teaching is a mission for me, and I am a passionate missionary! Each day
offers new opportunities for helping children to achieve.” Mrs. McIntosh shared “I often tell my students, if I
cannot help and inspire you to become better and smarter, I do not need to be in this classroom!”
Kati Stephan, ﬁrst grade teacher at Doerun Elementary, is in her third year of teaching. Mrs. Stephan
received her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University. Mrs. Stephan shared,
“As a teacher, I feel that I can contribute to education and society by being that encourager for my students
and working hard to get those parents on board to be that encourager at home. I believe one of the most
important tools that I can give a student is the desire to learn more.”
Funston Elementary kindergarten teacher Debbie Taylor is currently, in her 15th year of teaching. Mrs.
Taylor earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southwestern University.
Mrs. Taylor added an additional certiﬁcation in Art. She shared her thoughts on teaching, “I ﬁrmly
believe that before we can reach the mind of a child, we must ﬁrst touch the heart of a child. Success is
accomplished when a student ﬁnds acceptance, love, and a sense of pride in his or her work. This is not
only my students’ success, but mine as well.”
Scott Turner is in his 10th year of teaching and currently teaches English/language arts and journalism
at C.A. Gray Junior High. Mr. Turner received his Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education from
Brewton-Parker College and his Master’s in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University. Mr.
Turner has completed coursework towards his doctorate in Teacher Leadership. Mr. Turner shared, “In
today’s world, which seems to be getting smaller and spinning faster, my sincere belief is that the four walls
of my classroom can and should offer students a safe place to learn and grow.”
Traci Wells teaches ﬁrst grade at Hamilton Elementary and is in her 15th year of teaching. She earned
her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University. This is Mrs. Wells’ third time
being selected as a Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Wells shared, “By creating welcoming, safe, fun, challenging,
and rewarding experiences in my classroom, I have contributed to the future of education, and I have
accomplished my goal of getting students hooked on learning.”
Ronnie Rufﬁn, Norman Park Elementary fourth grade teacher, is in his 26th year of teaching. He received
his Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education from Florida A & M University. He has also achieved a Reading
Endorsement. Mr. Rufﬁn shared what being a teacher means to him, “As a teacher, I have the unique
opportunity to plant seeds of desire for continuous learning and growth. Once those seeds are planted,
other educators can come along and water them, leading students to become working, productive citizens
in our society.”
Odom Elementary second grade teacher Emanuel Torralba is currently in his second year of teaching.
Mr. Torralba received a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University.
Mr. Torralba shared his thoughts on teaching, “I was blessed to have such a group of supportive teachers
throughout my school years. Their persistence made me realize, how, by becoming a teacher, I could
change the future of that one child who is always ‘expected’ to be unsuccessful in life. “
Jessica Hewett is a third grade teacher at Okapilco Elementary and is in her ﬁfth year of teaching. Mrs.
Hewett completed her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Brewton Parker College,
and her Master’s in Reading Curriculum & Instruction from Grand Canyon University. She shared her
thoughts on teaching, “I believe to be an effective teacher you must ﬁrst have a love for children before
you can even begin to teach the child. Teaching is touching the future one child at a time.”
Jennie Estes teaches pre-k at Stringfellow Elementary and is in her ninth year of teaching. Mrs. Estes
earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia. Mrs. Estes
shared what being a teacher means to her, “All students need to believe in themselves in order to
be successful in the classroom environment, and students also need to feel that I believe in them as
well. Positive thoughts create a positive learning environment. My greatest contribution to education is
probably the patience, love, and respect for learning I hope to share with each student.”
Sunset Elementary third grade teacher Sara Craft is in her ﬁfth year of teaching. Mrs. Craft earned her
Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education with an ESOL Endorsement from Florida State University
and has added a Gifted Endorsement. Mrs. Craft spoke about being a teacher, “The greatest reward
I have in teaching is seeing a child’s face light up when a concept that was so confusing has become
crystal clear in a matter of moments! Every day I look forward to going to work and caring for kids.”
Rena Lindsey is in her 15th year as a teacher and currently teaches sixth grade gifted science at Willie
J. Williams Middle. Mrs. Lindsey received her Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education from Valdosta
State University and her Master’s in Middle Grades Education from Albany State University. She also
added gifted certiﬁcation. Mrs. Lindsey shared her thoughts on teaching, “For some students, school is
their only opportunity to be successful. Students come to the classroom with different backgrounds and
circumstances. It is my job to try to make each child experience success. I am dedicated to my job and
to my students.” This marks Mrs. Lindsey’s second time as a Teacher of the Year.
Ingrid Wingate, a music teacher at R. B. Wright Elementary is in her 21st year of teaching. Mrs. Wingate
earned her Bachelor’s degree in Music from the Valdosta State College and her Master’s degree in
Educational Leadership and Instructional Specialist degree from the Valdosta State
University. This is Mrs. Wingate’s second time being named a Teacher of the Year. Mrs.
Wingate shared her feelings on teaching, “The image I present to my students will live on
in their minds forever. I want to present an image of being a professional educator on an
endless journey looking for new and better ideas for information and self-improvement.”
Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing
to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers. -- Author Unknown
You Are Invited!
Employees in the Spotlight The Southwest Georgia Activities Committee in
Congratulations to Williams Art teacher Alisha Montgomery who has had one of conjunction with Southwest Georgia Bank and
her prints accepted in the Member’s Exhibit for Georgia Art Educators Association. the American Legion and its Ladies Auxiliary
are honoring Veterans at the 21st Annual
The Colquitt County Gifted Center recently won a grant from the Florida DNR Veterans’ Day Breakfast. The breakfast will be held at
(Department of Natural Resources) for transportation to St. Marks Refuge for the the Colquitt County High School cafeteria on Saturday,
annual ﬁeld trip. November 14, 2009 beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Congratulations to R.B. Wright Assistant Principal Brad Gregory on completing his The guest speaker will be William Abbott, a P.O.W. during
doctorate in Teacher Leadership from Walden University. the Korean War, with a story you will want to hear.
By Lori Glenn, Colquitt County Family Connection
The beginning of the interview went something like this:
“So Capt. Demps, I see your ﬁrst name is Theodore. What do you go by?” “Capt. Demps.” “Right, but what
would I call you?” “Capt. Demps.” Pause. “Um, well what if we were in Wal-Mart, and I wanted to call out to you
to say hi.” “Well, I guess you could call me Theodore… but I probably wouldn’t answer to anything but Capt.
Dedication: that’s a one-word summation of Capt. Demps, director of the Colquitt County Schools STAR program. It’s that resolve
that has put out ﬁres of anger and stress consuming many youth in our district and has smoothed out even the roughest of
Demps is the embodiment of dedication. It appears he’s always on. For a decade, he’s commuted from Valdosta to Moultrie (he
prefers that separation lest students catch him in his civvies off-hours), arriving in a freshly pressed uniform and in time for the 5:30
a.m. workout with the kids who’ve landed themselves in STAR for one unsavory reason or another. There’s study hall every day with
a certiﬁed tutor. No one leaves until all homework is completed.
Often students are enthused to see him in the halls or on campus. “Ooh! It’s STAR Man,” they say, drawn by his authoritative
character and fatherly concern. This is a typical reaction, he said, despite the fact that getting into his program means they’ve gotten
STAR serves at least 100 students at a time, ages 9 through 15, seventy-percent of whom are actively in the program for 30 days.
Demps would like to see the State of Georgia up the legal dropout age from 16 to 18, convinced it would improve the state’s
But once students are out of the program, aged-out or otherwise, Demps doesn’t forget about them. In fact, he tracks each and every
one of them through the rest of their school career. It’s that type of follow-through and consistency that families involved in STAR
have become to respect.
In his spare time, his combat boots are hitting the streets of the neighborhoods. It allows him to see the children in their element. It
also allows them and their families to see him -- always in control, always Capt. Demps. At a phone call, he’ll drive back to Colquitt
County to help a child, help a parent, any time of the day or night. “That changes a lot of things. They have to have access to you,”
Demps knows ﬁrsthand how tough it can be to raise children alone. He lost his wife to stomach cancer. She was only 34. They had
two children: 23-year-old Sheena now a psychology major and 34-year-old Carlos now a supervisor for Fresh Beginnings, Inc., a
gourmet baked goods company in Valdosta. Carlos and his wife, Selina, have a 4-year-old daughter, Kayla. It’s not entirely out of the
question that little Kayla calls him Capt. Demps too.
This educator runs on “all cylinders,” he said, and never drops his guard. When he’s not inﬂuencing the youth of Colquitt County, he’s
doing it in Lowndes where he grew up. He’s highly active in the New Hope Baptist Church in Valdosta, immersing himself in his life’s
mission, changing the world for the better one child at a time.
“Prayer and education are the keys to our success. It takes a community to raise a child,” he said. “We want to save our children.
That’s how we save America.” Demps preaches education all the time. “Try doing something without it,” he said simply.
His own education came courtesy of the U.S. Army. He worked his way up to an E-7 Sgt. 1st Class becoming an expert at combat
arms and serving in Europe three separate times. Two tours he spent recruiting. His demonstrated leadership over two decades
caught the eye of the United States Military Academy at West Point, which recruited him to teach military science. He doesn’t like
to brag about his achievements. He had to be enticed to divulge even that little bit, but he’s quick to bring the discipline and drive of
West Point to reach Colquitt County’s most difﬁcult students.
Hobbies? “I enjoy my job” was his immediate response. He eventually divulged that as a former Valdosta High defensive back, he
loves football (especially Packer games) and still at age 51 likes to keep physically ﬁt through weightlifting and running. “I try to stay
locked in like that, because this stuff is serious,” he said. “It’s really serious out here.”
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Colquitt Connections Named
Visit the Colquitt County School System website www.colquitt.k12.ga.us. Georgia School Public Relations Association
The Colquitt County Board of Education does not discriminate in any educational programs or activities or in employment policies. 2010 Best In Category