The Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation (MEEF) named Shane Larkin, a teacher at Early College Academy, the 2017 MCSD Teacher of the Year. The announcement was made in front of a record, sell-out crowd of more than 990 teachers and community leaders on Thursday, May 4th, 2017 at the Trade Center in Columbus, GA. The announcement was the culmination of the Teacher of the Year program for the Muscogee County School District, produced by MEEF.
Larkin was chosen from 56 Teacher of the Year (TOTY) honorees representing each school in the Muscogee County School District. As a ten-year Army veteran, Shane says his military career proved to be a pivotal point in his decision to become a teacher. “I remember being in Bosnia and observing that, even in dangerous war zones, everything revolved around the schools where kids were still going, often walking long distances to get there … It was there when I realized that education is the greatest empowering institution in the history of the United States.”
MEEF Chairman, Janet Davis, emceed the Gala, along with Superintendent Dr. David Lewis, Davis recalled that when Sean was named as one of the Top Three honorees, he took it as a teachable moment in his classroom, turning to his students and noting “Remember when I told you there were business leaders out in the community who cared about you and what you were learning?These are only a few of them and they all want you to succeed and are glad they’ve made the investment in your education.”
The Selection Committee was impressed with Shane’s understanding of the impact a community can have on its school system. “Show me a thriving community and I’ll show you a thriving education system.” With multiple degrees from Columbus State University, Sean advocates for a variety of educational options. Mr. Larkin is the voice of logic, both in the classroom and out. He recognizes the needs of his students and relentlessly aims to meet them. “To improve education, we’ve got to invest in multiple paths including more opportunities for vocational education. The purpose of education is to empower students with knowledge and to create as many opportunities as possible for their future success. That’s our role as a community and it’s my mandate as a teacher.”
Each school TOTY honoree received $100, the Top Ten honorees received $500, the Top Three received $1,000 and Larkin received $5,000 and will be featured on a billboard. In addition, all the honorees received tickets to a RiverCenter show; a $50 gift certificate from Buckhead Wine and Grill and an autographed copy of Sheryl Green’s book, Beyond the Classroom: Speaking Truth and Life into Kids. The book is a collection of weekly newspaper columns that Green has written for the Ledger-Enquirer.
MEEF is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering educational excellence by focusing on individual teachers who are innovative and exceptionally effective in their profession. The Foundation has awarded more than $2.1 million to innovative teachers through financial incentives in the TOTY program, the MEEF Grant program and the MEEF Endowment Fund.
Davis noted that this year the sponsors were extremely supportive, “We are especially grateful for our generous supporters who enable MEEF to reward and recognize exceptional teachers including W. C. Bradley Company: Aflac; Kinetic: CB&T/Synovus; TSYS; Sharp Business Solutions; Brasfield & Gorrie; Judy Thomas; Georgia Power Foundation, Representative Richard Smith; Hall Booth Smith; RiverCenter for the Performing Arts; Buckhead Wine and Grill; Aaron & Clements, Inc; Alexander Electric; Batson-Cook; Burger King; Columbus Regional Health; Columbus Water Works; Columbus State University; Hecht Burdeshaw Architects; Hughston Clinic; Kelley Outdoor; Muscogee Retired Educators Association;; Liberty Utilities; McMullen Funeral Home; NCS Pearson; NetPlanner Pratt & Whitney; Superior Court Judge Art Smith; Spud Bowen & Associates; and Virtucom.
Media, Marketing ... and More! Inc.
serves as the administrator for the Muscogee Educational Excellence