Cobb Teachers Win Five Awards from GA Science Teachers Association

The Georgia Science Teachers Association (GSTA) recently recognized five science teachers from Cobb County School District for excellence and commitment to their craft. Three were recognized as Teacher of the Year (TOTY) by GTSA, and two were awarded mini-grants to help fund the science departments at their schools.

Abby Sandlin from Pitner ES was awarded TOTY for Elementary. Dr. Amy Gilbert from Griffin MS received TOTY for Middle School. Tiffany Jones from South Cobb HS won TOTY for High School. Sarah Dowell (Varner ES) and Julie Knobbe (Addison ES) were awarded mini-grants for continuing STEM education at their schools.

“Simply being nominated for GSTA Teacher of the Year was an honor beyond my wildest dreams,” said Abby Sandlin. “I still am in shock that I actually won!”

“Earning the GSTA MS TOTY challenges me to keep working diligently at both the local and state level to support our students,” replied Dr. Gilbert.

High School TOTY Tiffany Jones agreed: “GSTA has been an enormous help throughout my career with learning new techniques and collaborating with excellent teachers across the state,” she said. “They have helped me find my teacher voice outside of the classroom.”

Winning the mini-grant will enable Sarah Dowell to “pay it forward” and give her students access to experiences they may not otherwise have been able to take part in. “Growing up,” she said, “my family was overflowing with love but often light on money. I was surrounded by teachers who paid attention and went out of their way to make sure I had the same opportunities as my peers.”

Julie Knobbe plans to use her mini-grant to add to Addison’s microscope collection with a new digital version. “This will enable remote learners to dive into the microscopic world along with the face-to-face learners in the classroom,” she said happily. “Additionally, I will purchase more microscopes so that each student in the classroom can safely use their own during the pandemic and beyond.”

One name kept being repeated by the award winners as an inspiration and encouragement to them in their teaching careers: Dr. Sally Creel. Dr. Creel serves as Cobb Schools Supervisor of the STEM and Innovation Department.

“Dr. Creel ignited a fire that continues to fuel me to be the best science teacher for my kids every single day,” said Abby Sandlin gratefully.

“I would ALWAYS like to thank Sally Creel,” agreed Julie Knobbe. “She is such an influential force for STEM education in Cobb County.”

Dr. Creel herself had nothing but praise for the teachers. She mentioned that Cobb teachers had been recognized in one or more of the categories (elementary, middle, or high school) for the past 10 years. “This is incredible,” she said, “when you consider that this awards program recognizes outstanding teaching from across the entire state.”

“This year, however, Cobb had a clean sweep of all levels of teachers of the year,” she continued proudly. “That has never happened in the history of this awards program. It is exhilarating and rewarding to see these amazing women of science recognized at the state level. This is just one more piece of evidence that Cobb truly is the best place to ‘Teach, Lead, and Learn.'”

Congratulations to all GSTA award-winners. We are proud of you and so glad that you choose to use your talents and abilities to teach science and its many applications to Cobb Schools students. Thank you for all you do!


Eric Rauch
CobbCast / Cobb Communications
Cobb Schools

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