COVINGTON, Ga. — RISE Academy teacher Kelly Byrd is the 2020 Georgia Alternative Education Teacher of the Year.
Keith Hose, who is Georgia Association for Alternative Education vice president and awards chairman, announced the award during the recent 2020 Georgia Alternative Education Association conference.
“We are extremely proud of Ms. Byrd and this great accomplishment,” said Phalanda Perriman, RISE Academy Program Supervisor. “Ms. Byrd is an outstanding educator who is very passionate about our students at RISE Academy. She is a shining example of excellence in education and truly embodies our motto, ‘Second Chances New Beginnings’ each day when she welcomes our students with an enthusiastic greeting and a word of encouragement. She is committed to ensure that all of our students experience success. We are very grateful to have Ms. Byrd at RISE Academy.”
Byrd is a graduate of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. She earned a master’s degree from Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan, and recently added a Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction.
Her teaching career spans 15 years with the majority of her career with Newton County Schools. Prior to joining the RISE staff, she taught ninth grade math at Alcovy High School.
According to Amie Cumming, NCSS Director of Student and Family Support and program director of RISE Academy, during her time at RISE Academy, Byrd has helped students who may otherwise never tried, to enroll in and attend college.
“With her guidance and assistance, Ms. Byrd has witnessed students with no educational confidence realize their own self-worth and achieve alongside their peers,” said Cumming.
“RISE Academy has allowed me to be an all-around teacher,” said Byrd. “I get to teach, support, encourage, and watch my students grow. Helping students achieve for the first time in their lives is a satisfaction like no other.”
“We were very selective when hiring our staff for RISE Academy,” added Cumming. “It takes a very special teacher to work with alternative education students. A successful alternative education teacher looks past the behaviors and sees only the promise the students bring. Often the teacher must believe in the student until he or she can believe in themselves.”
Cumming explained. “It was easy to see from the beginning Ms. Byrd’s love and respect for every student. I always love to hear her parting words to the students each day, ‘Be safe, be great, and I can’t wait to see you back tomorrow.’”
“To be the GAAE Teacher of the Year is a true honor while representing RISE and Newton County Schools,” Byrd shared. “I was overwhelmed with joy during the virtual conference when the announcement was made. I look forward to fulfilling the duties of GAAE Teacher of the Year.”
“It is certainly quite an accomplishment to be named as the 2020 Georgia Alternative Education Associations Teach of the Year,” said Samantha Fuhrey, Superintendent of Newton County School System. “Mrs. Byrd is a phenomenal educator whose compassion and commitment is evident in all that she does to ensure her students are successful. Congratulations to Mrs. Byrd; I am extremely proud of her and grateful for her contributions to our school system.”
Byrd is married to Jermaine Byrd. They reside in Covington with their two children, Jacob and Jada-Kendall.