CCSD Announces 2023-24 Teacher of the Year Finalists

toty finalists graphicOctober 11, 2023

The Clarke County School District is pleased to announce its three 2023-24 Teacher of the Year finalists – Brad Williford of Clarke Central High School, Garry E. Grant of Clarke Middle School, and Jakelyn Spencer of Cleveland Road Elementary School. The finalists were chosen from a field of 24 school-level teachers of the year whose applications were evaluated and scored by a district committee. 

The winner, along with the district Support Person of the Year, will be announced on Oct. 24 at the district’s Teacher/Support Person of the Year awards banquet. The winning teacher will then go on to compete at the state level. 

Mr. Williford started teaching in 2000 and is in his eighth year with CCSD. He previously taught social studies and was an instructional coach and assistant principal at Monroe Area High School before joining CCSD. After spending his first four years with the district at Clarke Middle, he moved over to Clarke Central where he is a special-education and collaborative teacher in several different subjects – environmental science, anatomy, geometry, economics, and advanced math & decision-making among them. Mr. Williford holds an associate degree in Social Studies from DeKalb College, a bachelor’s degree in History from Georgia State University, and a masters degree in Secondary Social Sciences from the University of Georgia. He also received a Leadership Certificate from UGA and holds several other certifications. 

Mr. Grant has been a business education teacher for four years at Clarke Middle, where he also serves as a mentor teacher and the Connections Team co-leader and coordinates the school’s 21st Century Learning after-school program. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from Augusta University, a masters in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix, and is pursuing his doctorate in K-12 Leadership from Capella University. He also holds a Tier 1 instructional leadership certificate from the University of West Georgia. 

Ms. Spencer has been with CCSD and Cleveland Road Elementary since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year and teaches third grade.  She also worked in the West Lafayette, Indiana, school district as a Title I teacher following her graduation from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education & Exceptional Needs. She obtained a Master of Science in Special Education and Dyslexia Endorsement from the University of Georgia while working at UGA’s Child Development Lab at McPhaul Research Center and holds several certifications. 

“We were very fortunate to have 24 exceptional candidates to consider for this year’s Teacher of the Year,” sai Dr. Robbie Hooker, CCSD Superintendent. “The evaluation committee had the difficult task of narrowing down those applications to these top three finalists, all of whom epitomize high-performing, student-centric teaching. We look forward to announcing the CCSD Teacher of the Year later this month.”