TOTY: ‘It’s OK to like math’

Jacqueline Mullen at awards presentation. Photo/Special.

Whitewater High’s Mullen takes Fayette Teacher of the Year honors

Whitewater High School math teacher Jacqueline Mullen took top honors April 19 when she was named the 2012 Fayette County Teacher of the Year (TOTY) at a ceremony held at the north campus of New Hope Baptist Church.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Mullen choked back tears as she thanked a long list of teachers from her past whom she said are prime examples of excellence in the profession. Mullen said it was her mother, a school teacher for 33 years, who gave her the passion to become an educator.

“Most of the people in this room know her as Mrs. Black, but to me she is just mom. This award means so much to me because I can share it with her, the real hero of education in my opinion,” said Mullen.

Mullen described herself as a workaholic and said she is always looking for ways to help her students better understand and appreciate math, Berry-Dreisbach said.

“I’ve been known to grade papers at sporting events and out at dinner, and it’s true that I did take a suitcase full of math books on a cruise, but that is just me putting forth my best effort,” said Mullen.

Berry-Dreisbach said Mullen upon receiving the honor also thanked her students.

“Thank you for allowing me to consider you my children for 180 days and please don’t ever forget that it’s okay to like math,” Mullen told a group of her students in the audience.

As Fayette’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, Mullen will represent the county in the Georgia TOTY competition next spring.

Fayette County High School science teacher Malia Bergstrom and Sandy Creek High School social studies teacher Chris Cannon were also contending for the honor.

Berry-Dreisbach said Fayette’s annual TOTY program honors the county’s 29 teachers of the year from each elementary, middle and high school. The program would not be possible without the generous contributions of local businesses and organizations, she said.

Nominees from each school received plaques from the Coca Cola Bottling Company and a portrait courtesy of Life Touch Photography. Also, Allan Vigil Ford in Fayetteville gave $500 to both runners up and $1,000 to the winner; and the Rotary Club of Peachtree City gave all three finalists $100 each. Additionally, the winner received a commemorative ring from Balfour and a gift basket from The Avenue Peachtree City.

Other top sponsors included Delta Community Credit Union, Southern Federal Credit Union, Huntington Learning Center, Fellowship of Love Church, and many other local businesses and organizations.

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