By Carlen Hultgren
Tracey Nance Pendley, an Atlanta Public Schools (APS) fourth-grade teacher at Burgess Peterson Academy (BPA), has been named the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year. This is the first time an APS teacher has won this award in nearly four decades. As the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Ms. Pendley will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession in Georgia. She will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Tracey’s Georgia Teacher of the Year recognition speaks to her love and passion for both her students and for teaching, as well as to the tremendous impact she is having on the students’ lives and on their future. APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said, “This is an incredible honor for Tracey and for APS. We are so proud of Tracey for being a shining example of what teaching excellence is and should be, and we are grateful to her for being a part of our APS family.”
In addition to being named the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Tracey is the reigning winner of APS’ Excellence in Teaching Award. She received this recognition in October 2018, which highlights the district’s best, brightest, and most accomplished classroom educators. Tracey is also the recipient of the 2018 Atlanta Families Award for Excellence in Education.
In applying to teach at APS, Tracey said, “Every child is deserving of an education that challenges, fosters responsibility, and teaches about the world and the many possibilities for their own lives. In my classroom these beliefs translate into a literacy and numeracy-rich environment in which daily differentiated instruction, relationship building, and critical thinking are key. I challenge students to think critically about important historical events and to draw connections between themselves and people of different races, cultures, and beliefs. I believe all students should have some magic in the classroom.”
Ms. Pendley began her teaching career with APS seven years ago as a fourth-grade teacher and interventionist at Toomer Elementary. In 2013 she became a fourth-grade teacher and mentor teacher for the CREATE teacher residency program where she has the opportunity to prepare future teachers and magnify the power of education at Burgess Peterson Academy.