For Casey Bethel, 2017 was quite a memorable year. Not only was he recognized as the Georgia Teacher of the Year, he was also named a finalist for the LifeChanger of the Year award, part of National Life’s K-12 educator recognition program.
Today, he speaks nationally on topics that include teacher recruitment and retention, diversifying the teaching population and school discipline reform. He is a passionate educator, and accomplished scientist and mentor to students of all ages. His motto is: “Be a super hero for the kids,” a quote that speaks volumes as to who he is as a person.
We asked Casey about his new role inside or even outside of your school district?
Casey used to oversee teacher professional development and STEM outreach programs through The Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) at The Georgia Institute of Technology. He is now a system-wide science coordinator for middle schools and high schools. He coordinates curriculum, resources and teacher professional development in more than 30 schools.
For Casey, this is a new leadership position that has a positive impact on his community by improving teaching and learning one step at a time. He said the LifeChanger of the Year award gave him the courage to cross that bridge and embrace this incredible position.
In addition to that role, Casey is an advocate for social-emotional learning and speaks about it nationwide. He believes that as a teacher you can always do a better job at teaching children and teenagers to be self-aware and help manage emotions. Academics are extremely important but without this awareness and valuable emotional toolkit, there is a gap and Casey is extremely engaged in helping to minimize it.
We also asked if he’s had any other honors or recognition.
Casey is one of the University of Georgia’s Top 40 Alumni Under 40 which celebrates young alumni taking the lead in their industries and communities and allows young graduates to be recognized for their accomplishments.
He is also one of the Georgia Forward Young Game-Changers. Georgia Forward’s mission is to improve the state of Georgia by working as a catalyst to promote cross-sector, statewide conversations and partnerships by engaging young professionals and business, political, academic, and civic leaders. Young Gamechangers is a leadership action program that brings together some of Georgia’s brightest minds also under the age of 40, to help solve challenges of some communities in Georgia
And we asked about his work on other critical initiatives.
Recently, Casey headed to the Sandiland’s Primary school in the Bahamas. Almost 400 educators from across the United States followed him. Once there, they were greeted with open arms.
Teachers from very different places and cultures connected with one another and were able to share stories. Students were smiling excitedly with beaming eyes in anticipation of what this group was doing.
Casey and his fellow educators donated thousands of school supplies, which will allow every single child to have a full back-pack for the start of the new school year. They also donated $2,000 toward school uniforms. Casey says: “We want there to be no barrier to their success.”