Heather Harp’s only lament Thursday was that her students weren’t there to join in the celebration.

Harp, a history teacher at Glynn Academy, received the Glynn County Teacher of the Year Award during a ceremony hosted at Sea Palms Thursday evening by the Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce and Glynn County Schools.

“It has been a privilege getting into all of your classrooms and seeing all of the wonderful things going on in our school system,” said Kelly Howe, a retired educator and one of the local judges for this year’s Teacher of the Year program. “There is no doubt why each of you has been selected as teachers of the year after seeing all of you in action and talking to you.”

Local teachers and administrators, along with their families and fellow community members, dressed up and enjoyed dinner before the ceremony.

During the ceremony, Teachers of the Year from each school stood on stage to be individually recognized for their hard work and dedication to the profession. Honored educators included those from every public school in the county as well as local private schools and College of Coastal Georgia.

Patience, kindness, creativity and perseverance were among the many reasons cited by the schools’ principals for why their teachers deserved recognition.

“I think all of us are in it to make a positive difference in the world — especially our teachers,” said Glynn County Schools superintendent Virgil Cole at the start of the ceremony.

The finalists for this year’s Teacher of the Year award included Harp as well as Elizabeth Cox from Satilla Marsh Elementary, Nafia Espana from St. Simons Elementary, Christy Henson from Sterling Elementary and Amy Stalvey from the Golden Isles College and Career Academy.

Harp is a standout teacher at Glynn Academy who creates strong relationships with her students and who inspires them to succeed in the classroom, said Matthew Blackstone, the school’s principal.

“She is small in stature, but she is a force of nature,” he said.

Harp received a standing ovation after she was announced as the Teacher of the Year. Onstage, she shared thanks for the support she’s received from the school system, community and her family.

All teachers are deserving of recognition for the work they do, Harp said.

“We’re all in the trenches doing the hard work, making the difference in the lives of our students and putting that extra time — we’re cheering for them, we are advocating for them, we are loving them and that is what we do,” she said.

Harp, like many teachers, said her students make the job rewarding.

“The only thing that would make this better right now is if my students were here, because they’re the reason that I’m standing here today,” she said.

“They’re the reason I love my job so much that it’s almost unbelievable I get to call this a job. They’re the ones that we’re striving for and we are hoping to make a difference with.”

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