Gary Rushing

Rhodes Elementary School


We hired our nominee two years ago to work in an inclusion classroom. We quickly realized that his greatest strength and contribution to our school was in his ability to build rapport with our most challenging students. He has a kind and gentle spirit but is also very consistent with discipline and maintains very high expectations of our students. This year, we purposely moved our nominee into our behavior unit, where he has excelled!

Our nominee has participated in various trainings and continuous education courses. He attended Capturing Kids' Hearts training and brought back to school the exemplary values of this program. He has attended district ELA and Small Group Trainings where he learned best practices for administering reading intervention to struggling students. He has participated in the Summer Behavior Institute, classroom management trainings, and has become certified in Crisis Prevention and Intervention strategies. He is currently also pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in Education.

Beyond the walls of his classroom, our nominee serves as a mentor for many students, both in the school and the community. He is the strong father figure that many of our boys crave and desperately need. Rather on campus or the community football field, our nominee consistently models respect, self-discipline and compassion for others.

As an employer, our nominee is the type of person you wish you had more of on campus. He's always willing to help in any capacity, is always positive, and most importantly, he loves our kids!