Hammond named TCS Teacher of the Year

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 08:04 AM

Lance Hammond understands the impact a teacher can have on students.
He lost his father in the fifth grade and the impact his teacher had on him at the time lasted throughout his adult life. 
"I wanted to be able to have that same impact on someone else," Hammond said.
Now teaching fifth grade at Liberty Drive Elementary School, Hammond impacts the lives of students every day. While teaching may not have been his first career of choice, his natural classroom ability made him an easy selection as Thomasville City Schools 2013-14 Teacher of the Year.
"I'm just very humbled because I know there are so many great teachers that I work with," said Hammond. "I don't sometimes feel like I'm deserved of that because we all are part of big team, working together. I am very honored that they nominated me."
Hammond set his sights on teaching eight years ago after spending time in banking and working at a YMCA. He came to TCS six years ago and has forged a reputation as being one of the hardest working educators in the system. LDE Principal Liz Snyder said Hammond is the one of those teachers parents often request for their children. 
"He simply is the first to arrive at school and the last to leave," Snyder said. "You'll see his car there on the weekend. There's not a kid who doesn't love him. He truly has been a Godsend to our staff and I would love to have a million more like him."
Hammond teaches all fifth grade subjects at LDE and loves the different daily challenges of his job. Hammond helped students last school year organize a lemonade stand that raised more than $1,000 for the Alex's Lemonade Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to pediatric cancer research and awareness. 
"You never know what to expect," said Hammond "You can go in with the best made plans and it can go awry at times. Or they can go better than expected. It's exciting to work in that type of environment."
Hammond now is eligible for Regional Teacher of the Year honors.
• Three other city schools also recognized top educators at Tuesday night's monthly Board of Education meeting.
Thomasville Primary School named Joanne Ellis its 2013 Teacher of the Year. Ellis teaches third grade and has 36 years experience in the TCS system.
"We can say a lot about Ms. Ellis but walking in her classroom really explains how wonderful she is as a teacher," said TPS assistant principal Krystal Sanders.  "She's the type of teacher that when you walk into her classroom you can feel the family atmosphere and that level of respect she has with her students."
Fred Hoffmann earned Teacher of the Year honors at Thomasville Middle School.
"We're lucky to have Fred at our school," said TMS principal Benjie Brown. "When I think of Fred, I think of being innovative. Kids love coming to his classroom. He's always willing to help others and is a teacher leader at our school. He always strives to get the best out of his students."
Sabreen Mutawally, a health and physical education instructor, is Thomasville High School's 2013-14 Teacher of the Year. Mutawally in 2009 helped create Women of Standard, an organization that promotes self-worth to more than 90 young female students. She currently is active in trying to increase parental involvement at the school.
"The best part about her is she never has a bad day," THS Principal Deboy Beamon said. "She brings so much energy and she wants Thomasville High School to be the best. She's like a magnet and kids are excited to be around her. We love having her."

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.