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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2013

2013-14 Cobb Teachers of the Year
Announced For Each Academic Level


L-R: Teachers of the Year Tracie Bucy, Rhonda Lokey and Cathy Zingler were recognized by the Board of Education during the August evening meeting.

Three innovative and engaging Cobb County educators were named 2013-2014 Teachers of the Year during special surprise assemblies July 31. The District is proud to announce Mrs. Tracie Bucy of Rocky Mount Elementary, Mrs. Rhonda Lokey of Campbell Middle and Mrs. Cathy Zingler of Lassiter High as this year’s honorees for each academic level. Superintendent Michael Hinojosa made surprise visits to all three schools on the first day of pre-planning to name the Teachers of the Year in front of their fellow teachers and staff members.

See the CobbCast news blog for a gallery of images from the Teacher of the Year announcements!

Kindergarten teacher and lifelong Cobb resident Tracie Bucy always knew she wanted to be a teacher. After eight years of experience in the business world, she redirected her career back to the classroom to pursue her passion for teaching and learning. Mrs. Bucy served at Baker and Cheatham Hill elementary schools before joining Rocky Mount Elementary in 2005.  From the first day of her Kindergarten classes, Mrs. Bucy aims to develop relationships with her students before delving into content or skills. Bucy said, “With a strong learning relationship, [students] are more engaged when I model to them how to learn and how to work with others.  I then begin working to show the children how exciting learning can be and how important it is.” A key member of Rocky Mount’s team of teacher-leaders, Tracie has helped facilitate staff training sessions, developed a parent education program and has represented her school at various leadership development programs.

Cathy Zingler, Special Education instructor and cheerleading coach at Lassiter High School, considers herself a “born teacher.” From an early age, she felt a calling for helping others learn – especially people with learning disabilities. Inspired by a childhood friend with special needs, Zingler said, “I cannot describe the happiness I felt for Carol when she could recite her ABCs.  I knew then that I wanted to teach kids who looked and acted different than others.” She joined Cobb in 1996 after working in school systems in Missouri, Illinois and South Carolina. Her involvement with students extends to the athletics field, where she works with more than 70 athletes in Lassiter’s cheerleading program. She has also mentored 17 younger coaches, including three of her former student-athletes. When Mrs. Zingler’s students succeed in or outside the classroom, they can earn a spot on her classroom ‘Wall of Fame,’ which includes images of past students earning belts in karate, becoming Eagle Scouts, performing on athletics fields, going to prom and graduating. Zingler said, “I have received many accolades throughout my teaching career…but in all honesty those awards do not compare to the hugs I receive when my students receive their high school diploma.”

Teacher of the Year is a somewhat familiar honor for Rhonda Lokey, social studies teacher at Campbell Middle School. Over the course of her 31-year career in education, she has been selected as Teacher of the Year by her faculty peers at four different Cobb County middle schools: Dodgen, Lost Mountain, Smitha and Campbell. The respect she has earned from fellow teachers has led her to active leadership roles for the Cobb County School District, such as instructing for the District’s New Teacher Institute and co-chairing the Middle Grades Committee for the Urban Education certification program at Kennesaw State University. All of her professional development efforts are ultimately focused back on the classroom experience. When students arrive Aug. 7 for the start of the new school year, Mrs. Lokey will continue her tradition of dressing as a flight attendant and offering Campbell students the opportunity to “board” her classroom plane into “Lokey Land,” the world of exploring social studies. Lokey said, “I hope that when they graduate and begin a career, they would be as fortunate as I have been to find something they love to do and most importantly, enjoy doing it each and every day.

Each of the three level winners was first selected as local school Teachers of the Year by fellow faculty members. School honorees submitted written applications for the District-wide honor, which are read and rated independently by a committee of administrators. The highest-rated applicants from elementary, middle, and high schools are named Teachers of the Year. The District Teacher of the Year will be selected from among the three academic level winners following a comprehensive interview process.

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