May 19, 2016 | Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA
Mr. Casey M. Bethel, an AP Physics, AP Biology and Physical Science teacher at New Manchester High School in Douglas County, was named the 2017 Teacher of the Year for the state of Georgia.
Mr. Bethel, passionate educator, GIFT teacher, accomplished scientist and mentor to students of all ages had planned to become a surgeon, but changed his mind about medicine while in graduate school. There while conducting research and working with undergraduate students, he discovered a passion for teaching. “I turned to education, and I never felt so alive,” he wrote in his application for the Georgia Teacher of the Year contest. Although experiencing success as a teacher, he further sought ways to enhance student learning, landing in the Center for Education Integrating Science, Math and Computing (CEISMC) Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT) program. There he has spent several summers interning as a researcher in the College of Sciences Biochemistry lab of Dr. Raquel Lieberman, hoping to find cures for Alzheimer’s disease and Glaucoma.
In addition to maintaining a track record of high student achievement, he aims to inspire the next generation of scientists. Teaching lessons he designed based on his GIFT experiences have been published in The Journal of Chemical Education. In 2012 he was awarded the Paul A. Duke Action Plan award by (CEISMC). He also represented CEISMC’s GIFT program as a presenter at the 2015 International Teacher-Scientist Partnership Conference. At New Manchester High, he sponsors the Chick Fil-A Leader Academy and Project Manhood, a male mentoring group which has been highlighted in local publications.
“We are so proud of Casey’s accomplishments and count him as one of the CEISMC and Georgia Tech family. Through university-school partnerships like GIFT---we can transform teaching and learning for students in Georgia,” said Dr. Lizanne DeStefano, Executive Director, CEISMC.
The Teacher of the Year (TOTY) Competition is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. The chosen teacher becomes an ambassador for all Georgia public school teachers, school systems, and students. The Georgia TOTY's numerous engagements include recognition before the Georgia House and Senate during the session of the General Assembly; speaking to various groups throughout the state; conducting staff development activities for other teachers; serving on statewide committees; and attending and participating in numerous state conferences The GTOTY typically takes a one-year sabbatical working directly with the Georgia Department of Education. He will represent Georgia in the 2017 National Teacher of the Year competition.