SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Building personal partnerships, that's the main piece of advice the Georgia Teacher of the Year offered to his peers Monday night.
Worth County educator John Tibbetts said that's been a critical practice throughout his life.
"We've got the Teacher of the Year from Worth County," said State Senator Greg Kirk.
From Army officer to consultant, Tibbetts has gone by a lot of titles.
"Allow me to thank you for the great community that you are," Tibbetts said.
And, now, Georgia Teacher of the Year is one he can add to the list.
"We have standards and we have lessons that we have to teach the kids," explained Tibbetts. "So, you start with that as a baseline. Then, you try to open it up and let the kids do some discovering."
To do that, Tibbetts said he depends on others. He said personal partnerships are critical in education, and that's advice other South Georgians took in Monday afternoon.
"They need to be around leaders, " said Kirk. "People that can teach those leadership skills as they're also teaching the basics of mathematics and other things."
Senator Kirk, Sylvester Mayor Bill Yearta and a representative from the Secretary of State's Office all presented Tibbetts with celebratory proclamations. Adding how important educators like him are to those they serve.
"Met him a couple of times and seems to be a nice guy and I would have loved having him as a teacher when I was in school. I can tell you that," said Yearta.
Tibbetts' practice of finding someone to help revel in the triumphs of life and stand by your side during its tribulations is something he hopes to do with those who honored him.
"They're people who know the struggle," explained Tibbetts. "Who understand what you're all about and no matter what is going on they're willing to step up and help you get it done."
And that true collaboration is something Tibbetts said will be valuable for those who work toward it.
The Sylvester-Worth County Chamber of Commerce hosted Monday's event.
Tibbetts will spend the next year traveling the state speaking to educators about his teaching style.
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