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professionals in our workplace to be recognized for their dedication to students and their community,” she remarked. “A Superstar Teacher demonstrates excellence in leadership in their classroom along with motivation for their students. They show a high level of commitment to not only their students but their community.”

In December, the Chamber began accepting online nominations of public and private school teachers from Toombs and Montgomery Counties who the community felt most deserved the award. A total of 76 nominations were received, most of which came from Toombs County Schools, but Vidalia City Schools, Vidalia High School, Robert Toombs Christian Academy, and Montgomery County Schools were also well represented in the submissions. These nominations were then reviewed by a committee that selected Allen as the inaugural winner.

A group of Chamber representatives, program sponsors, and school administrators surprised Allen in her classroom at Toombs County Middle School. She was given a gift card and basket of goodies by sponsors, and her students received t-shirts and bags of candy.

“Wow, thank y’all so much,” she said after the award presentation. “This is a huge surprise and an incredible honor.”

While in the classroom, the group shared with Allen the two nominations which she had received for the award, which spoke highly of both her involvement with extracurricular activities and her dedication to her students in the classroom.

The submissions stated that Allen is a 40year teaching veteran who came out of retirement to return to the classroom a few years ago, but will be returning to retirement at the conclusion of the school year. According to the nomination, Allen also serves as the Toombs County Special Olympics Coordinator, and this year, developed a cheerleading squad for girls with special needs in Toombs County. The squad recently cheered at a local basketball game. Allen previously served as a middle and high school softball coach, a middle school girls basketball coach, and a bus driver for the girls’ sports teams.

“She is a dedicated teacher, [and] loves her students and will do anything to help them succeed,” the submissions read. “Mrs. Allen has amazing patience, and goes above and beyond for her students and other staff members…I can’t think of anyone more deserving.”

In attendance at the presentation were Toombs County Schools Superintendent Barry Waller, Middle School Principal Thomas Mercer, and Special Education Director Sabrina Woodruff, who all spoke about Allen and the award.

“I am proud of the invaluable contributions made by Mrs. Allen as a special education teacher in Toombs County Schools. Her dedication to nurturing the academic, social, and emotional growth of her students is truly commendable. Her commitment to excellence is what Toombs County Schools is all about!” Waller emphasized.

Mercer spoke on the benefit of having Allen at the school, as he stated, “Mrs. Allen continually inspires others with her remarkable dedication and the profound impact she’s had as a special education teacher. Her unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment, where every student feels valued and empowered, helps set ‘The Standard’ at Toombs County Middle School.”

Woodruff added, “Elaine Allen loves her students and she loves Toombs County Schools. I am so thankful for her many years of dedicated service to our special education program. She is a Super Star!”

The February Super Star Teacher award will be given later this month, and nominations will soon open online for the March Star Teacher award! All those previously nominated who were not chosen for the award may be resubmitted for nomination. To learn more, or to nominate a favorite teacher, visit the Greater Vidalia Chamber website or contact Amber O’Connor at (912) 5374466.

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