Fayette County Announces 2018 Teacher of the Year Winner

Staff Report From Newnan CEO

Monday, April 16th, 2018

After being recognized as a Teacher of the Year finalist, one Fayette County teacher will have one more title to add to the honorable list— the title of Fayette County’s Teacher of the Year.

With a deep passion for impacting young minds and providing students with the necessary supports to succeed, it is no wonder why fourth grade teacher Natalia Nizker of Robert J. Burch Elementary was named the 2018 Fayette County Teacher of the Year.

From 26 teachers, Nizker ranked top three to earn her place as a finalist in the Teacher of the Year competition; fourth grade teacher Angela Sattinger of Fayetteville Elementary and math teacher Richard O’Brien of Rising Starr Middle were the two other finalists. All three finalists were interviewed and observed in their classroom by a judging panel which consists of two retired educators and last year’s winner, Shaylen Dixon.

Nizker, Sattinger, and O’Brien, along with 23 of Fayette County’s finest teachers, were honored at the annual Teacher of the Year ceremony.

As a firm believer in developing positive and meaningful relationships, the Teacher of the Year winner understands that her win is not hers alone because “it takes a village to make a good educator,” Nizker says. “Behind each teacher is his/her family that either inspired their educational career or supported and continues to support us in everything we do on a daily basis.”

With astonishment and gratefulness upon receiving the Teacher of the Year honor, Nizker says, “I’d like to start by saying thank you for believing in me. I’d like to express deep appreciation for the honor bestowed on me by my fellow colleagues. There is nothing more valuable than to be recognized by peers. Thank you for the privilege!”

Nizker says this honor would not have been possible without the continual support from her school, “Robert J. Burch Elementary has made me a better teacher and because of them I strive to do better every day.”

Although Nizker has been inspired by colleagues, mentors, and family, one of her greatest inspirations comes from her students, who she refers to as her “driving force,” as they challenge her to gain new perspectives each day.

With 11 years as an educator, Nizker’s belief remains the same, “I wholeheartedly believe that the teaching profession is one of the most critical vocations because it lays the foundation for all occupations. Teachers are entrusted with both the futures of the students we teach and the future of all society as we play a deciding role in forming the academic, social, emotional, and character attributes of tomorrow’s world,” she says.

As Fayette County’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, Nizker will represent the school system next year in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

Thanks to the donations from school PTO organizations, and local business and community groups, all 26 school-level teachers of the year received a $50 check from the Fayette County Education Foundation. The Coca-Cola Bottling Company also gave each teacher a commemorative plaque.

Allan Vigil Ford of Fayetteville presented Nizker with a $1,000 check, and Sattinger and O’Brien received $500 checks. The local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international society for women educators, presented Nizker with a $100 check and the two runners-up with $50 checks. Also, the local chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international organization for women educators, presented Nizker with a $200 check and Sattinger and O’Brien with $100 checks. 

Additional gifts for Nizker included a commemorative plaque from the local chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota, a professional organization for educators, and a special teacher of the year ring presented by Balfour.

The annual Fayette County Teacher of the Year ceremony took place at New Hope Baptist Church, South Campus, on April 12.