Brittany Palazzo, Mulberry Elementary School
Brittany Palazzo knew early on that she wanted to be a teacher, tracing her love of teaching back to when she played “school” with friends, neighbors, and even her stuffed animals. A product of Gwinnett County Public Schools, she decided to return back to her roots after college, teaching in the district where she received her K-12 education. Today, she teaches third grade at Mulberry Elementary where she has been since 2007. Palazzo previously worked at Dacula Elementary and Centerville Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Georgia State University, and a master’s degree from Piedmont College in Curriculum and Instruction.
Keri Beth Tidmore Jones, Dacula Middle School
Recently Keri Beth Tidmore Jones got the chance to reconnect with her fourth grade teacher, the same teacher who inspired her to become an educator. This former teacher said she had no doubt Tidmore Jones would become successful in the profession as she tried to teach the class as a fourth grader. Since 2005, Tidmore Jones has made Dacula Middle her home, teaching computer science and eighth grade yearbook. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from the University of Georgia, and a master’s degree in Integrating Technology in the Classroom from Walden University.
Sarah Black, North Gwinnett Middle School
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Music has always been a part of Sarah Black’s life and served as her creative outlet. But the thought of becoming a teacher didn’t cross her mind until freshman year of high school when her music teacher inspired her to pursue a career in education. Black was inspired when she witnessed her teacher help the entire class learn how to play a difficult number that the students thought they could not achieve. She has now been with Gwinnett County Public Schools for 15 years and currently teaches orchestra at North Gwinnett Middle. Black holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Appalachian State University.
Aundrea Muth, Mill Creek High School
High School Teacher of the Year
Aundrea Muth knew she had a passion to teach, even as a child. Her initial elementary school years were spent at home with her mother as her teacher. She used her homeschooling experience, along with a decade in public schools, to consciously evaluate her teachers and decide which styles, tools, and attitudes she wanted to emulate. She realized the best teachers were multi-dimensional educators who learned to be adaptive and work with their students to bring out their best efforts. Today, she exhibits those attributes at Mill Creek High, where she teaches Political Systems and AP Government to seniors. Muth earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Georgia.
Lindsey Cafarella, Peachtree Ridge High School
As a child, Lindsey Cafarella had many career ambitions. However, being a teacher was never one of them. She says looking back now it’s clear that she was always meant to be a social studies teacher. After earning two bachelor’s degrees from the University of Georgia, one in History and another in Advertising, she pursued several different career paths but never really felt satisfied. In 2006, she joined Peachtree Ridge High where today she teaches world history to sophomores. In addition to her two undergraduate degrees, Cafarella earned a master’s degree in Social Science Education from the University of Georgia and is currently working on her doctorate degree in Teaching and Learning: Social Studies Education from Georgia State University.