The stellar reputations of the Cobb County and Marietta City school districts are well known throughout the metro area, but that wouldn’t be possible without great teachers. This year, on Oct. 2, the Cobb Chamber honored Rhonda Lokey and Stormi Johnson as the teachers of the year.
Cobb County Teacher of the Year: Rhonda Lokey
Rhonda Lokey teaches sixth grade at Smyrna’s Campbell Middle School. As an educator for the past 31 years, Lokey remains inspired by some of the teachers she had during her student years. “The subjects that I had great teachers in are the ones I remember,” she says. “My concentrations are language arts and social studies, and those are the two areas that I had great teachers for.”
Lokey, who first taught in Newton County, ended up in Cobb on the advice of a friend, and she is very glad she made the move. She credits the Cobb school district for her success because it is a system that truly values its teachers. “I know I’m the teacher I am because of the professional development opportunities I’ve had,” she says.
Finding out she had been named Cobb County Teacher of the Year rendered Lokey speechless. “It’s such an honor to represent such a wonderful group of teachers,” she says.
Marietta City Teacher of the Year: Stormi Johnson
Stormi Johnson teaches third grade at the Marietta Center for Advanced Academics. She went into teaching after a personal tragedy—her brother took his own life in 2000. Upon reflection, Johnson realized that her brother had struggled throughout his life, and lacked support from his teachers. “I wondered if someone had taken the time to see what he needed, if things might have turned out differently,” she says. After realizing the impact a teacher could have on a student, Johnson decided that was her calling.
Johnson believes Marietta City is the best system for her because it is family-oriented. She also credits Superintendent Emily Lembeck for creating a culture that is responsive to and supportive of its staff. “It means I am valued here,” says Johnson. She feels that being honored as Teacher of the Year is further proof of that support. “It helped me feel validated that my peers think I’m doing a really good job,” she says. “The reason I do what I do is the students and the families.” And families all across the city are reaping the benefits.