A veteran middle school math teacher is the Cartersville City School System’s Teacher of the Year.

Chris McSwain, a sixth-grade math teacher at Cartersville Middle School, received the school system’s top teaching award during its annual Teacher of the Year banquet Wednesday, May 15, at Taverna Mediterranean Grill.

An outside committee of educators selected McSwain from among four school-level Teacher of the Year winners, a news release stated.

McSwain is in his 13th year as a middle school math teacher and his third year at Cartersville Middle School.

He spent the first decade of his career teaching eighth-grade math at Woodland Middle School in the Bartow County School System.

McSwain earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kennesaw State University and a Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Berry College.

He chose to be a teacher while in college “after having a life-changing experience with the lord,” according to earlier information from the school system.

“He discovered an unknown passion for helping kids and teaching math,” the system’s website stated.

His principal, Ken MacKenzie, said McSwain “is the epitome of how CMS should be represented.”

“He is a benchmark teacher and well-respected coach. He’s also a wonderful family man with three beautiful children. His positive disposition and winning smile are traits that make Chris special,” MacKenzie said.

McSwain will move on to compete for the 2021 Georgia Teacher of the Year title.

Others in the running for the system’s Teacher of the Year title included:

• Tara Peters, who was Teacher of the Year at Cartersville Primary School.

Peters, a kindergarten teacher, began her career in 2010 as a pre-kindergarten teacher at Kids and Company and is now in her fifth year at Cartersville Primary.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education as well as an endorsement in reading from Kennesaw State University in 2009; and a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Piedmont College in 2010.

She is currently working toward an Education Specialist degree from Piedmont University in Curriculum and Instruction and plans to graduate in December 2019.

• Christine McKinney, who was Teacher of the Year for Cartersville Elementary School.

McKinney, a fifth-grade teacher, has been an educator for 17 years. She taught at Cartersville Elementary from 1996 to 1998 before teaching in DeKalb County, Athens, Milledgeville, Paulding County and Augusta, she said on her school website.

She returned to CES in 2014.

McKinney earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UGA.

• Debbie Justus, who was Teacher of the Year for Cartersville High School.

Justus is in her 30th year in education and teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

She earned a bachelor’s degree from UGA, and master’s degree and Education Specialist degree from Piedmont University.


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