Educators Honored at Buford City Teacher of the Year Banquet

The Buford City School Board of Education and Administration would like to proudly give all credit of being ranked the number one school system in Georgia to the 500 educators within the district. The instructors who not only teach the children on a level to equip them to score the highest on state achievement test but to encourage them to believe in themselves.

On Monday, March 6th, The Annual Teacher of The Year Banquet was held at the Buford Community Center, to honor four teachers, one from each institution. Deana Anderson, Buford Elementary; Leslie Sheppard, Buford Academy; Ed McQuade, Buford Middle School; and Cheryl Whigham, Buford High School.

Ed McQuade was the winner of The System Teacher of the Year award for 2017. Shannon Weeks, the 2016 System Teacher of the Year, welcomed fellow educators, Buford City School Administration staff, and special guests. Special guests includes Senator Rene Utterman, The Buford Board of Education and The Buford City Commissioners.

The prayer and invocation were given by Bruce Fricks, a member of the Buford Board of Education. The Buford High School Girls Trio (Hope Fowler, Hanna Hopper and Keighly Brown) gave a performance directed by Joy Fowler.

Buford Elementary School Principal Tara Prince spoke of the incredibly gifted teacher and mentor Deanna Anderson, who has taught for 22 years and has been with Buford Elementary School for five years. After accepting the award, Anderson thanked everyone who made it possible for her to be a part of the Buford Family. Above all else she gave credit to God because without faith, she would not be here today.

Photo by Vickie Wilson
Dr. Geye Hamby shakes hands with Ed McQuade upon presentation of his award.

Buford Academy Principal Kaleen Pulley introduced Leslie Sheppard as an educator who had a calling for children with special needs. Her commitment and dedication to these kids have made Buford Academy a better school. Shepard has taught for 20 years and been at Buford Academy for 12 years. She shared that her passion for special needs children came from growing up with an older sibling with special needs. She then ended her speech with a quote, “Children will not always remember what we teach, but they will always remember how we made them feel.”

Dr. Banks Bitterman introduced Buford High School’s Teacher of The Year, Cheryl Whigham. Cheryl admired by her co-workers and students, was given credit for the impressive 20% increase in test scores since joining their team and was instrumental in Buford High School having the highest milestone scores in the State of Georgia. Cheryl has taught for 20 years and has taught in five different school systems in the past. Upon entering The Buford City School District, she quickly realized how different it was. She spoke of the student’s behavior and how respectful the students were. It was evident that Cheryl had an enormous amount of appreciation for the unique and successful way the Buford City School District was operated.

Buford Middle School Principal Melanie Reed congratulated the Middle School and the 2017 System-Wide Teacher of The Year, Ed McQuade. Ed, who has taught students for over 20 years, came to Buford Middle School in 2003. Ed was the reason we have the Fine Arts Program. He’s not only a dedicated teacher who gives students equal attention and a mentor to all, but he’s also known for bringing out the best in students. He takes the time to encourage and let them know that he believes in them. Superintendent Geye Hamby thanked Ed for his dedication and congratulated him for his many accomplishments. In 2003, Ed started another season of his career at Buford Middle School.

In 2004, Ed started the Buford Community Girls Chorus. In 2007, under his leadership and direction, the Buford School Fine Arts Program was established and won the Region 8 State Literacy Championship.

Ending the ceremony, Ed McQuade gave recognition to The Buford City Commissioners and School Board for the many years of support. He acknowledged that the greatest reward is not a ranking, nor a ring, nor a trophy, but a call from a student 24 years after graduation, thanking him for believing in him and encouraging him to believe in himself.

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