Rockdale County Public Schools congratulates the top three finalists for RCPS 2018 Teacher of the Year: Rockdale County High School’s Amy Baxter, Gen. Ray Davis Middle School’s Carlos Hernandez, Rockdale Career Academy’s Liz McGowan.
All three received surprise visits by Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts, Rockdale County Board of Education members, RCPS cabinet members, and leaders for the announcement on Sept.13.
Baxter, Hernandez, and McGowan are in the running to be named the district’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. They and all the school-level Teachers of the Year will be honored at the Teacher of the Ceremony on Oct. 16 at Rockdale Career Academy.
The district-level winner will be named at the end of the evening’s ceremony and will advance to the state level competition.
Amy Baxter – Rockdale County High School
Amy Baxter has been teaching for more than two decades, with 17 years at RCHS. She is currently teaching AP Literature and British Literature. In her spare time, she loves to read, write, paint, scrapbook and travel. She and her husband Dave have been married for 17 years and have two German Shepherds, Gemma and Atticus. She says her most rewarding experience as a teacher is simple: “The love I feel year to year is one of the greatest rewards, but I’m also thankful that this age of social media allows me to follow the successes of my students after graduation.”
Carlos Hernandez – Gen. Ray Davis Middle School
Carlos Hernandez is entering his 19th year of teaching, and has been teaching 8th grade social studies for the last four years. Besides being named DMS Teacher of the Year, Hernandez was previously named school-level Teacher of the Year at Hightower Trail Elementary in 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring and making new memories with his family, watching sports, mountain biking, and collecting theological books. He has been married to his high school sweetheart – Christy, who teaches 6th grade science at DMS – for 21 years and has two children, and recently gained a son-in-law. One of his most rewarding experiences as a teacher was taking two students to compete at the national level for National History Day.
Liz McGowan – Rockdale Career Academy
Liz McGowan has been teaching for 22 years and has been teaching Social Studies at RCA since 2013. She enjoys reading and watching the TV show, “The Office” in her spare time. She and her husband Marc have been married for 28 years and have four children. They are expecting their first grandchild this fall in October. Besides being named the RCA Teacher of the Year, her most rewarding experience as a teacher is hearing the success stories of her students. McGowan recalled one young lady she taught for all four years of the student’s high school career. “She was not particularly fond of me early on,” McGowan said. “Like my own children, she began to realize I knew what I was talking about. After her college graduation, she contacted me to tell me that I inspired her to become a teacher. She thanked me for not giving up on her and was grateful that I contacted her dad on a regular basis.”