LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Rebecca Heard

Position: First Grade Teacher
School: Clayton Elementary School
School District: Cherokee County School District
City, State: Canton, GA

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Rebecca Heard was nominated by her principal, Abbey Philpot.

Mrs. Heard is a dedicated teacher, a true professional, and a highly respected member of the Clayton Elementary community. Her passion for teaching and learning and the servant leadership she exhibits daily make her a LifeChanger in her community.

Mrs. Heard is extremely conscientious and positive, and is always seeking opportunities to serve those around her. Mrs. Heard loves learning, continually seeks opportunities for professional growth, and is truly a reflective practitioner. Prior to being offered the Professional Learning Teacher Leader position for the 2017-2018 school year, she served as team leader and demonstrated strong teacher leadership in supporting school improvement initiatives. She would spend countless hours beyond the school day familiarizing herself with various instructional resources and strategies so that she could effectively plan, implement, and then train and support her colleagues.

"One of her colleagues mentioned that she is a great role model for teachers, and that she goes above and beyond to help her students be successful," said Philpot. "I agree, but I think this extends past the four walls of her classroom. She goes above and beyond to help her colleagues be successful as well. Mrs. Heard continually recognizes the efforts of others, is gracious in everything that she does, and is the first to offer help in any way she can."

Mrs. Heard has a natural inclination for working with children. She maintains high, but reasonable, expectations for her first grade students and actively involves them in setting individual goals and monitoring their academic growth. Mrs. Heard genuinely cares about her students and continually seeks opportunities to develop a strong rapport with parents.

“I truly cannot say enough good things about Mrs. Heard’s performance as a teacher, except to say it is definitely her calling," said the parent of a student. "She has been amazing all year, and there are no doubts in my mind that she will be one of the teachers who my son will look back on in his adult years and cite as an extremely positive influence."

"Mrs. Heard truly is a gifted educator, with a heart of gold and strong desire to serve her students, colleagues, school, and community of Clayton Elementary," said Philpot. "She was selected by her peers as our 2018 Teacher of the Year and is certainly among the best I have had the opportunity to serve."

Comments (14)

Laurie Carroll Posted over a year ago

Rebecca first stepped into my classroom as an education student at Reinhardt College. Her magnetic and nurturing personality instantly attracted the students attention. The lessons she created as a college student were far superior than most I have had the opportunity to mentor. She was very thorough and thoughtful in her lesson development, making sure she covered the standard and created a fun learning environment for the students. I had no doubts of her ability as a future teacher and am very proud of her accomplishments.

Kim Moody Posted over a year ago

Rebecca is truly a life changer. She is a joy to all she comes in contact with. Rebecca is not only a great listener, but a great doer. She ensures all students and faculty members around her feel appreciated and supported. Rebecca's students are challenged and held to high expectations while feeling safe, loved, nurtured and respected. Her enthusiasm in the classroom is contagious and her willingness to grow as an educator and implement new strategies in the classroom is noted and respected.

Christina Ortiz Posted over a year ago

I meet Mrs. Rebecca Heard for the first time when she was hired as my replacement for my Georgia Pre-K classroom when I was moving to a Kindergarten placement. I instantly liked her for her strong teaching philosophy, creative ideas and kind heart. I'm excited to know that she has continued to flourish and refine her talent. When our paths cross I feel like I'm reconnecting with an old friend as we lift each other up. I wish her luck with being nominated for the life changer award.

A. Rogers Posted over a year ago

What an incredible choice has been made for Mrs. Rebecca Heard to participate in the Life Changer Award as she does just that daily within her classroom! Continually she impacts and changes lives through her exceptional teaching skills, motivating personality, and far-reaching goals that have been set by her and others for her learners and then those goals set for herself! Her global focus of what happens daily within her classroom not only touches and shapes her present learners but that of our future leaders. Serving as a supervising teacher and then onto a mentoring teacher and system colleague, I have had the privilege of working with and watching Mrs. Heard grow into a phenomenal and exceptional teacher! Early on it was easy to see the incredible passion and zeal for educating her students! Differentiating engaging and challenging lessons for all ability levels appeared to come so easy to her, and her students thrived under such guidance and direction. Her instruction, modeling, and nurturing of students goes beyond the norm. She looks at all aspects of the learner and their situation in order to plan and implement the best possible course of action for their success! She does not allow external variables such as cultural or economic barriers to hinder a child's growth and success within her classroom. Each child and their family are highly valued and viewed as a collective group to support and allow the individual child to move forward with their learning. Facilitating parents' knowledge at times is as important as working with the child individually. Mrs. Heard facilitates, extends, and refines lessons to achieve the desired learning goal(s) regardless of the level for all of her students. Not only is she resourceful, resilient, and refreshing, she is reflective which is one of the most treasured qualities of a "Best Practices" teacher. At the end of the day, she reflects inwardly to determine what would make that day's lessons better-- what and how did each learner gain that day, what worked or didn't, how do we move forward effectively, efficiently, and successfully, and what might I do to change what I have planned today for tomorrow's lesson to become better! Many are the hours that have been spent establishing, implementing, assessing, and refining her craft! Her whole heart goes into her teaching and her passion is so alive and evident in all that she does. Not only is she outstanding within the classroom, her expertise and professional know-how makes her an incredible leader within her grade level, her own school and within our school district. She has demonstrated, mentored, and been a representative of best practices for teachers within her building and many others from our district. Many have visited her classroom to view her highly productive teaching strategies and styles and to be trained on new program initiatives for our system. Mrs. Heard has served as a strong and progressive leader both within and out of the classroom; and she is indeed a life changer for many that have the opportunity to work with her! With much admiration for a highly motivated, caring and giving teacher, I strongly recommend and endorse Mrs. Heard for this well deserved award and recognition!

Tiffany Kelley Posted over a year ago

Mrs Heard is an excellent instructor and a delight to work with professionally. I am in her class weekly, supporting instruction for students with articulation and language needs during their writing segment. I love watching her interact with her students providing visual and verbal reminders along with consistency, routine and a smile. She taps into the class' energy with excitement without dampening those young energetic spirits. She knows how each student learns along with their academic strengths and weaknesses. She is gifted at organizing her class and keeping students engaged and on task. I am always delighted to have professional discussions about writing, phonics and language development.

Sandra reinagel Posted over a year ago

Great teacher,excellent working with kids and a great person, teacher with excellent skills working with all children, she a mentor to all of her students , parents and her community present, past and future.

Katie Swick Posted over a year ago

We can all look back at our school years and remember that one teacher who went above and beyond and inspired us to be our best. Rebecca Heard is that teacher not only for my daughter, but for many others as well. Her love, not only for education, but for her students is apparent every day in the classroom. I had the opportunity to volunteer in Ms. Heard’s classroom and witness this love first hand. Her lessons are engaging and her attention to each child’s interests and needs creates an incredible learning environment where each student is encouraged to do their best. Forever patient and kind, her students (and parents) know they can approach her with any concern. Ms. Heard holds a very special place in our hearts, and I am eternally grateful to her for the love of learning she inspired in my daughter. She is a life changer and the teacher that our family will never forget.

Meredith Hardt Posted over a year ago

Rebecca is truly a lifechanger for all of those she encounters. For her students, she provides love, support, high expectations for learning and the supports and scaffolds that they need to reach those high levels. She believes they can achieve more than they believe they can and they strive to meet those expectations. Her classroom is a warm and inviting atmosphere where students are excited and engaged in learning. They love learning together, as a classroom community. Not only is Rebecca a lifechanger for her students, she is a lifechanger for her fellow teachers. Others seek her guidance and knowledge in order to improve their own teaching practices. She is willing to lend a listening ear and offer positive and helpful feedback to others. She always offers to help and support others in any way that she can. As the Instructional Lead Strategist at our school, Rebecca is always open to feedback, eager to learn new things and enthusiastic about the results that she sees when trying new things. This enthusiasm spreads to those around her. She is a life long learner and she uses her knowledge to serve and support all those around her. She truly is a lifechanger and is so deserving of this honor.

Charlotte Moore Posted over a year ago

Rebecca is one of the kindness, most patient, organized teachers I have had the pleasure of knowing. She seems to be able to take every bad situation and turn it into a good. She is loved by her students and her colleagues. I was in the school system as a para pro for almost 25 years. Now I have the pleasure of volunteering in Rebecca's classroom. She is a pleasure to work with.This is not only a job to her, but it is her calling. She performs it above and beyond. I feel very honored to be able to write this in her behalf. She is a shining example for everyone.

Leshon Moore Posted over a year ago

Rebecca is my granddaughters teacher. I have to say my granddaughter now loves school and especially her teacher??

Betty Veal Miller Posted over a year ago

The first time I taught Rebecca in class at Reinhardt University, I knew she was going to be an extraordinarily gifted teacher. I am so proud of Rebecca for being true to herself and for living her life in such an exceptional manner. She is truly one of a kind.

Michelle Gordon Posted over a year ago

I have had the awesome pleasure of working with Rebecca Heard for several years. She is an inspiration to both her fellow teachers and students. She tirelessly works to find ways to reach each student in their area of need. She encourages other teachers and is always willing to lend a helping hand. She is wonderful about communicating with parents regarding the progress of their child and giving suggestions of ways to help their student. Rebecca is very deserving of this honor and I am proud to call her a friend and co-worker.

Maria Rosario-Regan Posted over a year ago

Rebecca is an extraordinary educator! She combines her enthusiasm and passion for teaching to meet the needs of all her students. She is a confident instructor and manages the classroom as if she's been teaching for years beyond her tenure. Rebecca impacts the entire staff and community with her display of dedication and passion for teaching. She brings heartfelt smiles and words of encouragement to everyone she meets. She is very deserving of this award.

Izell McGruder Posted over a year ago

I hired Rebecca as a first-year teacher. Never in 18 years as an administrator had I met a first-year teacher who was so thankful to be given the opportunity to teach. Rebecca quickly caught my eye as “one to watch”. She was dynamic in the classroom, using the observation and feedback notes she received to add to her teaching toolbox. She continually acquired and refined those tools understanding that the more knowledge and resources she had at hand, the better equipped she was to address any obstacles and problems that arose in teaching, assessments, and behavior management. She not only had the knowledge and techniques to be successful she had the applied skill set which makes her a gifted and talented teacher. Rebecca also has what I consider a unique trait for such a young educator, a true heart for service. She sees teaching as a privilege, not a right. Teaching kids and enriching lives are hallmarks of what she believes to be mission work. As an administrator, this mindset is encouraging and refreshing and provides hope for a generation of teachers and learners. I have no doubt that Rebecca will rise quickly within the ranks of the best and brightest educators. She has the will and skill needed to serve her students, her larger school community, district initiatives, and her own self-interests and professional goals. She is an administrator’s dream, and I enthusiastically support her candidacy for this Life Changer Award.