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GCPS Career and Technical Education teachers are tops in state

September 29, 2021

     Two Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) teachers earned recognition from the Georgia Association for Career and Technical Education (GACTE). The GCPS educators were honored at the 2021 GACTE Summer Conference for being leaders in their field.Pintu Thaker

     Pintu Thaker of Meadowcreek High School is the 2021 Georgia Business Education Association Teacher of the Year.  The award recognizes a Business and Computer Science teacher who is dedicated and skilled; demonstrates a strong ability to foster excellence in education as evidenced by on-going contributions to the improvement of student learning and the learning environment; possesses a strong content area expertise and is able to deliver content in a meaningful and engaging manner that is age appropriate; incorporates innovative instructional materials, curriculum, or strategies—such as interdisciplinary instruction, project-based learning, research-based programs, or technology to support and enhance instruction; and makes a difference in the lives of students through the Business and Computer Science program.  

     Thaker says Meadowcreek High’s positive culture helps make teaching fun and enjoyable. “I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the Meadowcreek High School administrators and to the CTE staff for their ongoing support,” Thaker said. “I would not have achieved this award without their involvement. This award means a lot and further confirms and fuels my desire to learn new technologies and to keep my students engaged and interested in the Computer Science Pathway.”

     Lauren O’Connor of Paul Duke STEM High School is the Georgia Marketing EducationLauren O'Connor Association’s (GMEA) 2021 Teacher of the Year. This GMEA honor is a nomination-based award voted on by all of the members of GMEA. Nominees are evaluated based on accomplishments and innovations that exhibit the quality of the candidate for the award, contributions to the Career and Technical Education community, which can include activities within their institutions, communities, GACTE, Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) and other organizations.

     O’Connor says she is humbled by the award. “I am so honored to be recognized by my peers through an organization that I hold dear to my heart,” O’Connor said. “Marketing teachers are one-of-a-kind and we are truly passionate people helping future generations to see how valuable this subject is. GMEA helps me to be the best teacher I can be and to be creative in my classroom.” 

     The GACTE is a state affiliate of the ACTE organization. It encourages and organizes teachers to become a part of a collective voice that can influence issues and policies that impact career, technical, and agricultural (CTAE) education. As a member, teachers can network with each other and gain important and helpful tips and techniques as well as participate in professional development at local, state and national levels.

     O’Connor and Thaker say their passion for teaching keeps them going. “As a teacher, I feel my purpose is to make the subject matter come alive,” O’Connor said. “My favorite thing about teaching is connecting students with the WHY of what they are learning.” Thaker adds, “I believe in my students. They are the ones who will change the world and make the world a better place so, I will continue to support them and provide them with unique educational experiences through the implementation of trending teaching practices.”