- Gwinnett County School District
- GCPS News
2022 Teacher of the Year: Jamie Garcia Caycho named Gwinnett County’s top teacher
June 7, 2022
Teachers of the year are recognized for being exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teachers in active teaching status. For this reason, on June 3, 2022, Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) had the unique opportunity to name Jamie Garcia Caycho—a 1st grade teacher at Arcado Elementary School who was selected as the 2022 runner-up during the original evaluation process—to represent GCPS as the 2022 Teacher of the Year.
In addition to holding active teaching status, teachers of the year are chosen because they are seen as an expert in the field who advance growth for students of all backgrounds and abilities. They are teachers who build collaborative relationships with colleagues, students, and families to create a school culture of success and play an active and valuable role in the community and the school.
Prior to earning the school system’s top honor, Mrs. Garcia Caycho was named as the 2022 Gwinnett County Elementary School Teacher of the Year in December. The TOTY selection process began at the start of the 2021-22 school year when teachers from throughout the district nominated and selected 139 teachers to represent their local schools. A selection committee later narrowed the group to 25 semifinalists, and finally to six finalists, then three level winners. The TOTY named by GCPS in December of 2021, Lee Allen, has resigned from the district, and no longer meets the criteria for active teaching status, according to requirements of the state’s Teacher of the Year program.
GCPS 2022 Teacher of the Year
Jamie Garcia Caycho, 1st Grade Teacher,
Arcado Elementary School
7 years in education, all with GCPS
One of Jamie Garcia Caycho’s goals is to make learning accessible for all. She empowers students by providing opportunities for them to see their cultures and backgrounds represented in the classroom as well as gain an understanding and appreciation of others’ cultures and backgrounds. She explains, “When children see examples of people that look, talk, or come from places just like them, that affirms that their own backgrounds are valuable and important. I use my students’ home languages to make connections to new concepts, vocabulary, content and skills.”
Mrs. Garcia Caycho has a first-hand understanding of the challenges many families face supporting their children academically as she and her family immigrated to the United States from Mexico when she was seven years old. As a result of her experiences, she decided to take action when she saw that Hispanic students in her school were underperforming in academic areas in comparison to other groups of students. She explains, “Knowing that I have a unique advantage of speaking Spanish fluently, I initially thought of hosting parent workshops for my class in Spanish, but, through collaboration with my colleagues, this idea transformed into something bigger and better.”
Her initial outreach to her administration led to the establishment of a parent outreach program called H.E.R.O.E. (Hispanos Esforzandose por Resultados, Oportunidades, y Exito, which translates to Hispanics Making Efforts for Results, Opportunities, and Success). The outreach program consists of administrators, ESOL teachers, the parent liaison, and Mrs. Garcia Caycho and encompasses professional learning for teachers as well as community-building and instructional support for families.
“Throughout the year, the school hosts H.E.R.O.E. nights for families to share dinner, build relationships with school personnel, and participate in workshops led by teachers, all in Spanish,” Mrs. Garcia Caycho says. “These workshops provide families with important information, lessons, tools, and resources that they can use to support their children at home and overall become more involved in school.”
As Gwinnett County’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Garcia Caycho will receive an annual award of $1,000 for as long as she is employed with GCPS. She also received $4,000 when she was named 2022 GCPS Teacher of the Year on June 3, 2022.
GCPS would like to thank this year’s sponsors for their ongoing support of great teachers and effective teaching and learning.
AIG Retirement Services
IBM and Kyndryl
Coca-Cola Bottling Company United
Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram
Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation
Junior Achievement of Georgia
Marsh & McLennan Agency, Southeast
The Kroger Company
Celia Brien/R.R. Brien and Associates