Teachers of the Year
Superintendent Bonner is proud to announce the Seminole County building and system teachers of the year. The system teacher of the year and middle/high school teacher of the year is Mr. Keith Helms. Superintendent Bonner says "Mr. Helms has been a teacher for four years, and has quickly earned the respect and admiration of both his peers and students. Mr. Helms is very deserving of this honor and I am very proud of his dedication to teaching and his students. He will represent the Seminole County School System well when he attends the Teacher of the Year banquet in Atlanta next spring." Principal Brinson Register echoes these sentiments, adding, "Mr. Helms goes above and beyond to help our students and our school system to achieve and be successful."
Keith Helms is the son of Lynn and Mark Herring, and the late Kenny Helms, all of Donalsonville. He has a sister, Lindsey Helms, who is a 2010 graduate of Seminole County High School and is currently in the RN Program at Bainbridge College. He also has a stepsister, Kassi Herring, who is a junior at SCHS and is a member of the Lady Indians softball team.
A resident of Donalsonville and Seminole County all of his life, Keith Helms graduated from Seminole County High School in 2004 as Salutatorian and began his college career at Bainbridge College in the fall of 2004. While there, Helms received the President’s Award for Outstanding Freshman Male. After spending two years at Bainbridge College, Helms transferred to Troy University-Dothan in the fall of 2006 where he majored in Mathematics and Education. While at Troy University, Helms spent time working at Northview High School and Beverlye Middle School in Dothan. He was also awarded several honors including Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Mathematics for the College of Arts and Sciences while attending Troy University-Dothan. In the spring of 2009, Helms completed his student teaching in Dothan at Honeysuckle Middle School teaching 7th grade and at Dothan High School teaching 9th-12th grade. Upon completion of his internship, Helms graduated Summa Cum Laude from Troy University-Dothan in May of 2009 with a degree in Mathematics [Secondary] Education, which allows a graduate with such a degree to teach any level of mathematics from 6th through 12th grade. This, in conjunction with his level of certification in both Alabama and Georgia, made Helms “Highly Qualified,” as designated by the Department of Education in both states.
After graduation, Helms returned to his Alma Mater and joined Seminole County Middle/High School as a faculty member in July of 2009 as the 8th grade Pre-Algebra teacher, a position he still holds today. Helms has said of his job, “I find great pleasure in knowing that I actually get paid to get up every day and go to a job that I absolutely love and adore.” He added, “The students of this great county deserve the utmost educational experience that we, as a faculty, can offer and it is my goal to see that they get it, and they do! The faculty and staff of our schools are awesome!” In reference to his work environment Helms said, “I have the privilege of working with and for the most wonderful group of people anyone could ask for and I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in the world. My administrators, colleagues, and students too, are the best and that’s one of the main reasons I feel as though I have the greatest job in the world!” “I have the pleasure of working with some of the very educators and administrators that helped shape me into the individual I am today when I was a student at SCMHS.” “This is my opportunity to give back to the school system and community that has given me so much” he added.
Pictured are assistant superintendent Corene Hamilton, principal Brinson Register, Seminole County School System and Seminole County Middle/High School Teacher of the Year Keith Helms, and superintendent M. Bonner.
The building Teacher of the Year is nominated by and voted on by his or her peers. The System Teacher of the Year is chosen from the 2 building Teachers of the Year based on the scoring of an essay written by each building Teacher of the Year, which is then scored by 3 outside judges. The System Teacher of the Year then represents the system in Atlanta at the state-wide Teacher of the Year banquet, held at the Georgia Aquarium. The elementary and middle/high Teacher of the Year will both be recognized and honored at the November 12 board of education meeting, as well as the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet.Assistant superintendent Corene Hamilton, along with superintendent Bonner and principal Renea Pierce, proudly announced Mrs. Kem Earnest as the elementary building Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Bonner stated, "Kem Earnest is an outstanding, dedicated teacher and is very deserving of this honor. I am very impressed by her work ethic and obvious love for her students." Principal Renea Pierce added, "It is indeed a pleasure to work with Mrs. Kem Earnest at Seminole County Elementary School. Mrs. Earnest is an excellent teacher and we are blessed to work with her. She represents SCES well in everything she does. I am proud to serve as her principal.”
Mrs. Kem Earnest is in her fourteenth year of teaching first grade at Seminole County Elementary School. She has also served as the 504 coordinator for the past two years at the elementary school.
Kem was born and raised in Decatur County. She graduated from Bainbridge High School. She later attended Bainbridge College and moved on to Valdosta State University to receive her B.A. in Early Childhood Education. Kem also received her Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southwestern State University.
Mrs. Earnest is married to Craig Earnest. They have two daughters, Abbie and Katie. She and her family are members of Friendship United Methodist Church in Donalsonville. Mrs. Earnest is also an active member of the Donalsonville Women’s Club.
Mrs. Earnest states, “It’s great to see such young minds learn and grow each day. I truly love teaching first grade.”
Proudly pictured with Mrs. Kem Earnest are Assistant Superintendent Corene Hamilton, Seminole County Elementary School principal Renea Pierce, Seminole County Elementary School building Teacher of the Year Kem Earnest, and superintendent Bonner.