Educators from Social Circle, Clements earn top certification

COVINGTON - Clements Middle School instructional coach Angela Hardeman hopes to have a relaxing summer as she worked doubly hard during the 2008-09 school year. She successfully completed her effort to become a Master Teacher in addition to her other duties.

Also earning the designation was Social Circle City Schools' Lisa Smith Allgood of Jersey, who was also named a Master Teacher this year. Allgood is a 1984 graduate of Newton High School and received a degree in education from North Georgia College and State University.

Gov. Sonny Perdue recently announced Hardeman and Allgood as two of 112 new teachers in Georgia who have earned the Master Teacher certification.

"There are now 466 Master Teachers in Georgia who have demonstrated their expertise in helping our children achieve at higher levels," Perdue said in a press release about the program that started in 2005. "They are masters at inspiring students to learn, and I am proud to recognize their tireless efforts and collective success in improving student achievement."

Hardeman is the only teacher in Newton County to accomplish the feat this year.

"I was determined to get it," said Hardeman, who applied for it one time before as a math teacher and did not make it.

In order to become a Master Teacher, Hardeman had to submit her students' Criterion-Referenced Competency Test results, essays and data analysis.

"No one is an island - you can't do it alone," said Hardeman, who has been at Clements for eight years as a math teacher and then an instructional coach for other teachers in the school. "If it wasn't for the teachers to allow me in their rooms ... and for me to model and coach, I couldn't have done it. ... It takes everyone working together for students to become successful."

Becoming a Master Teacher opens Hardeman up for more academic coaching opportunities and widens the expertise of what she's able to do in the classroom, she said. It also makes her eligible to automatically renew her teaching certificate, according to the press release.

For now, she wants to continue as an instructional coach as she continues to Liberty Middle School next year. In the future, she'd possibly like to work in the central office at the Board of Education in a curriculum position.

"I call her the 'Quiet Storm' because she is very quiet; however, her students give her 100 percent respect. One would never know she was in the classroom - never any loud voices, just students being quiet and learning," school Principal Sylvia Jordan said in an e-mail. "Her math students test scores have always been on top; this is shown by the pride she has in her work."

Hardeman, who was Clements' Teacher of the Year in 2007 and has served as a BETA Club sponsor, also hopes this new title helps her to serve as a role model for other teachers in Newton County who plan to become a Master Teacher or those who haven't yet made it through the program yet.

"I keep telling them to keep trying," she said of her peers. "If you don't get it the first time, just keep trying."

More information about the Master Teacher program is available by visiting www.gamasterteachers.org or e-mailing MasterTeachers@gapsc.com.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.