Hatcher Named 2023-24 DCSS TOTY

CHMS' Hatcher Named District Teacher of the Year
Posted on 10/05/2023
At Alexander High School’s performing arts center, surrounded by school leaders and 34 school-level Teachers of the Year, Shemeria Hatcher was named the Douglas County School System (DCSS) Teacher of the Year (TOTY) for 2023-24. 

“Being named DCSS’ TOTY is truly an esteemed honor,” said Hatcher. “Alongside so many other great leaders of education in our district, I must admit that I am in complete awe to have been afforded this grand opportunity.”

Hatcher, an English teacher at Chapel Hill Middle School, has served as a beacon of inspiration and excellence for 10 years at DCSS. She has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering a dynamic learning environment to help students reach their full potential. 

During the TOTY judging process, evaluators were captivated by her fierce passion for students and education. One judge mentioned that Hatcher’s engaging and creative approach to teaching separated her from other candidates. And another said that her fervor for helping students grow and become the best versions of themselves was evident by how she conducts her daily classes. 

“I didn’t get here by myself. I always say it takes a village, and I am a product of mine,” Hatcher said. “From my family and community to school administrators and students, they have all played a part in getting me to where I am today.”

Superintendent Trent North praised Hatcher’s work for showing dedication, passion, and a pursuit of excellence. 

“We are pleased to recognize excellence in education by celebrating our Teacher of the Year,” Superintendent North says. “This year’s winner is committed to student success and is strongly dedicated to the teaching profession. Her investment in Douglas County Scholars will shape the future for years to come.”

As the 2023-24 DCSS TOTY, Hatcher will represent Douglas County for the next year at various speaking engagements and will compete for the title of Georgia’s 2025 Teacher of the Year nomination. With this platform, she says she plans to continue advocating for DCSS students and the school community. 

“As an advocate for my DCSS community, I plan to utilize this platform to continue dissolving classroom walls,” Hatcher said. “There is an old euphemism that, ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child.’ The significance of this notion is that everyone plays a key role in the educational outcomes of our youth and the overall success of our future. Therefore, all stakeholders must be invested. I plan to fill in the gaps and bridge connections to ensure that our students remain globally competitive and intellectually sound in all environments.”

At the banquet, several other outstanding educators were also honored.
DCSS TOTY Finalists Julie Buff, Winston Elementary School third grade teacher, was named Elementary School TOTY, and Teresa Wellmaker, chemistry teacher at Douglas County High School, was named High School TOTY. 

Throughout her career, Buff says that she most enjoys getting to be quick on her feet in her classroom in order to execute her lessons best each day. She firmly believes that each child in her classroom can learn, and she works daily to create an inclusive and nurturing learning environment to help each child reach their potential.  

Wellmaker, a DCSS graduate, has been an educator for 18 years. She says that DCSS has profoundly impacted her life, so she aspires to have the same loving impact on her students that others shared with her as a student.

Other semifinalists, in addition to Hatcher, Buff, and Wellmaker, were Jennifer Waits (South Douglas Elementary), Chelsea Montford (Stewart Middle School), and Jacqueline Roth (FLEX Academy).
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