Celest Tobler has spent 25 years in education, teaching math to fifth graders for 10 years in Rockdale County, then moving to Walton County where she taught both upper elementary grades and gifted courses at Bay Creek Elementary School.
For the past four years, however, whenever she’s stepped into a classroom, it’s not to teach the children.
It’s to teach the teachers.
Tobler is an instructional coach at BCES, working hand in hand with teachers at the school to help them hone their approach to teaching and improve their engagement with the students.
“I work with the new teachers as they learn to manage students in the classroom,” Tobler said. “I have a lot of conversations with teachers about what they want to accomplish and the success of their students. We try out a lot of different things together.”
For her efforts in improving teaching across the entire school, Tobler was recognized this year as the Teacher of the Year for the Walton County School District.
“It’s humbling,” Tobler said of the honor. “It’s exciting and really rewarding. I’ve known some amazing people who have earned this honor. To be in that group is pretty phenomenal.”
Tobler grew up in the Savannah area and, after graduation, attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where she worked to find her niche.
Teaching had not been on her radar, but when she finally decided to give it a shot, it just clicked for her.
“I come from a family of educators,” Tobler said. “I genuinely enjoy helping people.”
Tobler would earn both bachelors and masters degrees from UGA before starting her quarter century of education.
Married with two children — one at UGA themselves, the other at Loganville High School — Tobler said she’s more than happy with where she is and couldn’t imagine going to another school.
“I absolutely adore the staff here,” Tobler said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
She does miss, however, the more intimate connections a teacher makes with their students when they work day in and day out with them.
“I do sometimes co-teach with my teachers,” Tobler said. “But I miss the classroom sometimes and forming close relationships with the students.”
Nonetheless, Tobler is happy to do her part in making BCES a better school for the students.
“I truly believe everyone can grow and learn,” Tobler said. “We all need to strive for a better tomorrow than today. Our students deserve the best instruction we can give them.”
With that in mind, Tobler is proud to claim the honor of Teacher of the Year, even if she insists it’s hardly her award alone.
“I might be named Teacher of the Year but I don’t work in isolation,” Tobler said. “Everything we do is collaborative. This encompasses every staff member I work with every day.”
Overall, though, the Walton County Schools Teacher of the Year said everything she does comes down to her passion for the work and everyone she works with.
“I love what I do,” Tobler said.
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