March 3, 2019
By: Bill Conger
An out-of-the-box approach to teaching is one of the reasons Jessica Antoniak has been named Teacher of the Year at DeKalb West School.
“It is very humbling to be voted by my peers as Teacher of the Year,” says Antoniak. “I do not feel deserving of the title. I see teachers in our building everyday giving everything they can to our students. I feel honored to work among them.”
A graduate of the Gordonsville High School class of 2000, Antoniak earned her Associate’s degree from Motlow State Community College and her Bachelor’s at Tennessee Tech University. She did her student teaching at DWS in 2013-14 and immediately began teaching 6th grade there, where she has been ever since.
“I start my day with high expectations for each student,” Antoniak said. “I expect my students to give good effort all day, not just in my classroom, but wherever they are. I want them to be confident and to be hard workers. I want them to see just a glimpse of the greatness they each hold and who they can become.”
“The students love her because she has a way of teaching that the students can understand,” fellow teacher Jennifer Martin says. “She makes her classes fun for the kids.”
“She has high expectations for everyone and brings the best out of others,” 5th grade teacher Nadina Martel said. “She is always looking for engaging and interesting ways to teach.”
“Mrs. Antoniak is constantly thinking outside the box to make her students enjoy learning!” says librarian Amanda Mullinax.
“She always gives a smile, positive attitude, and love to each student at DeKalb West, truly touching and inspiring lives at school and in the community,” her co-teacher in 6th grade Tammy Payne said. “She serves as an excellent role model and is tops in making a difference.”
Antoniak, who is also the DWS Jr. Beta lead sponsor, uses innovative approaches to help her students achieve their best.
“I try to allow my students opportunities to make good choices about where and who they work with in the classroom (life skills in the classroom),” explains Antoniak. “The standing tables, yoga ball, chairs, clipboards all allow for moving and making choices for how they feel they learn/work best. Yes, sometimes, I have to make a decision for them, but for the most part, they know with whom and where they work best.”
In addition to Antoniak, this year’s Teacher of the Year honorees are Justin Nokes, seventh grade World History teacher at DeKalb Middle School; first grade teacher Vicky Hawker at Smithville Elementary School; Linda Parris, a family and consumer sciences/culinary arts teacher at DeKalb County High School; and Cheryl Vandagriff, a fifth grade teacher at Northside Elementary School.
The overall DeKalb County Teacher of the Year winner will be announced during the twelfth annual Teacher of the Year banquet Tuesday, March 5 at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center.
DeKalb Republican Party Leadership Re-Organizes. Dustin Estes Named New Chairman
March 3, 2019
By: Dwayne Page
Members of the DeKalb County Republican Party met Saturday at the courthouse for leadership re-organization which is done every two years.
Dustin Estes was named chairman to succeed retiring chair Mingy Bryant. Renee Steff is the Vice Chair, Clint Hall-Secretary, Tom Chandler-Treasurer, and Brandon Cox Vice-Treasurer.
Local public officials were recognized including Sheriff Patrick Ray, Trustee Sean Driver, Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell, Circuit Court Clerk Susan Martin, and Road Supervisor Danny Hale along with Smithville Mayor Josh Miller, Smithville Alderman Brandon Cox, and School Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.
State Senator Mark Pody and State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and Clark Boyd also made brief remarks. Mae Beavers, former State Senator and now Chair of the Wilson County Republican Party was in attendance with her husband Jerry Beavers, GOP State Executive Committeeman, District 17 and Terri Nicholson, GOP State Executive Committeewoman, District 17.
Happy Fans Stay Up Late to Welcome Home Victorious Lady Tigers (VIEW VIDEO HERE)
March 3, 2019
By: Dwayne Page
The DCHS Lady Tigers, coaches, and cheerleaders returned home to a hero’s welcome late Saturday night as happy fans gathered at the high school gym to celebrate their team’s sub-state victory over McMinn Central 44 to 42 on the road at Englewood.
The team is part of the elite eight in the Class AA State Tournament and will play on Wednesday at MTSU in Murfreesboro at 1:15 p.m. against 26-7 Marshall County. It’s the first state tournament appearance by a DCHS girls team since 1965.
The Lady Tiger’s charter bus arrived at the high school around 11 p.m. Saturday and was escorted through town by Sheriff Patrick Ray, Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins, and the Smithville and DeKalb Fire Departments, along with Darrell Gill of Gill Automotive, an avid DCHS athletics supporter, who sounded his train horn along the way in celebration of the Lady Tigers’ win.
After stepping off the bus, the team assembled inside the gym to celebrate with family and fans and Coach Danny Fish made some brief remarks, thanking them for their support.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this group. We have a lot of special individuals in this group. Teams are made up of a lot of good players but it’s those individuals that can sacrifice themselves that makes the best teams. I love athletics because it teaches so many life lessons. Not everything is always going to go your way in life. The ball is not going to go in the hole all the time. You’re going to make mistakes but it’s not that which defines you it’s the moments after that which do,” said Coach Fish.
“There are many faces here who have contributed to what we have here tonight and in these girl’s lives to make them a better person and basketball player. I thank you for that because it definitely makes my job easier. I thank you parents for your support. This is a great moment. We would like for you (fans) to come out and support us on Wednesday. We will know what time and who we play (Sunday) but whoever we play Cinderella (Lady Tigers) still has the shoe on,” added Coach Fish.
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