At North Whitfield Middle School in Dalton, seventh-grade English teacher Jill Ryerson designs lessons that are not only fun and creative but also rigorous, standards-specific and differentiated to meet the needs of every student. Whether she has her students perform plays based on what they have read or venture into the woods to experience how a certain character might have felt, Ryerson creates engaging games and experiences that make learning come alive. Using data from Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) to drive her instruction, she charts each of her students' progress and works with them to set goals and design an educational plan based on their specific academic needs. Ryerson organized a unique parent night in which students taught their parents and led them through some of their favorite lessons and activities from her classroom. She typically achieves a high percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards on the CRCT in reading and language arts. Ryerson has played an integral leadership role as a member of the school's Design Team and was selected to participate in the district's Leadership Academy.
1992 Warner Southern College, B.A.