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G
ifted Education with Academic Rigor

710 Lane Street
Moultrie, Georgia 31768
229-890-6185

Donna Marshall, Director | Rebecca Hopper, Secretary

 

Director

Mrs. Donna Marshall is in her 30th year in the Colquitt County School System. She began in the Colquitt County School System on August 31, 1987. She taught first grade at R.B. Wright from 1987 through 2005. She served as a collaborative gifted teacher at the gifted center from 2005 through 2009, and transferred to Assistant Principal at Norman Park on August 10, 2009.

 Mrs. Marshall shared her thoughts on her new position, “I am very honored to be the new Director of Gifted K-5 Education Director. As a change in the services for gifted education in Colquitt County is on the horizon, just being a part of this change is one which will be very challenging and exhilarating. It is my desire and goal to take gifted services to the next level where the students in Colquitt County will be on the cutting edge and will be prepared for any challenge.”

Mrs. Marshall and her husband Tommy (Owner of Moultrie Dairy Queen) have two Children; Meghan Marshall-Strickland and Thomas.


Education:
Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University 
Master degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University


 
Staff Bios





 

   Kristy Croft

Kristy Croft grew up in a military family and resided in Thomasville when her father retired from the United States Air Force. While she attended Thomas County High School, she enjoyed the success of the football team winning state championships!  At Southwest Technology College she began the OTA program where she earned an Associate in Occupational Therapy (2001). After passing the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, she still wanted to accomplish her lifelong career as a teacher and enrolled at Thomas University. In 2003, she graduated with an Early Childhood degree and has been teaching in Colquitt County. She has furthered her professional learning by completing the Reading Endorsement and Gifted Endorsement. She continued her education and received her Master’s in 2006 through Grand Canyon University in Curriculum and Instruction: Reading.  

She is married to a tobacco farmer, Brian Croft. They live in Colquitt County with their four children: Ava, Owen, Emma, and Coleman. 


   
   Donald Dale

Coach Dale has 36 years in public education. He received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia. In 1975, he went to work for the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club as the assistant athletic director. From 1979 until 1991 he coached in Seminole, Madison, and Upson County. He was employed by Colquitt County in 1991 where he coached the girls’ basketball team for 24 years and golf for the last 20. Coach Dale has a wife of 36 years, Ms. Sue and 3 children Whitney, Elizabeth, and Joshua.

   
  Lisa Duncan

Lisa Duncan grew up in Moultrie, GA, and graduated from CCHS in 2004. She graduated from Valdosta State University with a degree in Early Childhood Education in 2007 and obtained her Master's Degree in Accomplished Teaching from Georgia Southern University in 2011. She received her gifted endorsement in 2012. She taught two years in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, and has taught four years in the Colquitt County School System. She taught second grade from 2007 through 2011, and taught third grade gifted cluster class at J.M. Odom for two years. 

She is married to Clark Duncan (Production Manager at International Forest Company) and has a daughter Lily Rae.  She loves reading, shopping, traveling, and spending time with her family (especially her two precious nephews). 


  Eric Foster-Whiddon

Eric Foster-Whiddon loves music and loves teaching his students at GEAR! A Colquitt County native, Eric and his wife Vanessa are the founders and former owners of Beans & Strings, a music school and coffee shop on the square in downtown Moultrie.  Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Eric was a youth minister for almost a decade.

Music finds its way into everything Eric does. A multi-instrumentalist, Eric has been teaching students to play a variety of instruments (mostly guitar) since 2001. He has written songs, recorded albums and played in bands since his high school days. Eric loves helping young people discover talents and learn to think like musicians. He and Vanessa have four children: Alexis, Zoe, Holton and Karis.  

   
  Noel Giles

Noel Giles is in her 26th year with the Colquitt County School System. While obtaining her teaching degree, she was a paraprofessional at Stringfellow Elementary School in the special education classes for two years. Upon graduation from Valdosta State University in 1993, she began her teaching career as an Inclusion Teacher at Okapilco Elementary School. 

In 1994, she began teaching first grade until 2014 when she transferred to 3rd grade for two years. Currently, she is teaching 5th grade English Language Arts at GEAR. Noel shared, "I'm so thankful to to have the  opportunity to teach at GEAR and provide a challenging, but fun, engaging learning environment for my students." "It's a privilege to be a part of such an amazing group of talented teachers.Her favorite quote is one of Henry Ford- If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right!

Noel is married to Darren Giles and they have two sons, Lance and Nick.

Education:

Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education, Valdosta State University

Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education, Valdosta State University 

Education Specialist in Early Childhood Education 

Reading Endorsement from Valdosta State University 

Gifted Endorsement from South Georgia RESA

 

   
  Kim Greene

Kim Greene, a native of California, graduated from Valdosta State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Art Education. For over 13 years she has served Georgia’s students teaching preschool through 12th grade. She received the Innovative Teacher’s Grant from the Junior Woman’s Club for designing and implementing a series of cross curriculum lessons. Mrs. Greene is also certified to teach Middle School English Language Arts (4th-8th grades).  She also completed her Gifted Endorsement through North West Georgia RESA. Mrs. Greene is excited to be able to implement and connect the Georgia art standards to our gifted curriculum. She is teaching Visual Arts and technology. 

She is married to Rev Matt Greene and has three children: AnnaBrooke, Aubrey and Bo. Her hobbies include spending quality time with her family, serving at her church, playing with her dogs and making art.




 
   Rebecca Hopper
Rebecca moved to Moultrie 11 years ago when her husband, Kevin, accepted a position at Mount Olive Baptist Church as a Children & Youth Pastor. Prior to moving to Moultrie, Rebecca worked part time as the Publications Secretary & Student Ministry Secretary at their church in Douglasville. She also worked as the Office Manager at the Georgia State University's Baptist Collegiate Ministry.  

Rebecca is married to Kevin Hopper and has enjoyed being a stay at home mom for the last 11 years. Kevin and Rebecca have 3 children. Kale is a 7th grader at Willie J. Williams, Maris is a 6th grader at Willie J. Williams, and Kade is a 2nd grader at Odom Elementary. Their family loves sports, especially baseball and softball. They also love spending time with friends and family!



   
   Jessica Jones

This is Jessica’s tenth year teaching and her first year teaching at G.E.A.R. as a fourth grade math teacher.  She is a spunky and fun teacher who likes for her students to be engaged in what is going on in the classroom. She also feels that it is important for her students to know that it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are considered opportunities for learning!

Jessica shared, “I always knew I would be a teacher, I was practically raised in a classroom! I love learning and love making learning fun!”  Every day as a teacher, I ask myself, “Would I want to be a student in my class”? It is that question that drives my instruction, enthusiasm, and imagination to best meet the needs of my students.”

Jessica is from Lenox, Georgia. She worked for the Cook County Board of Education for nine years as a third grade teacher at Cook Elementary School. She has taught third grade math, science, and social studies.  She taught gifted math and science for eight years and served gifted learners in the regular classroom with her gifted endorsement.

Jessica loves being outside and exploring! She enjoys camping, kayaking, nature trails and parks, biking, going to the beach, going to concerts, festivals in the Fall, football and baseball games, traveling, exercising, drinking coffee, fountain coca-colas, ice-cream and chocolate! Jessica also loves being with her family and spending time with her Labs: Timber and Coach, and her kitten, China Cat Sunflower. 



   
  Wanda Jones

Mrs. Wanda Jones is in her 36th year in the Colquitt County School System. She began in the Colquitt County School System on August 29, 1977. She taught K-5 in Norman Park from 1977 through 2005 before transferring to gifted services. She obtained her gifted endorsed in 2005. Mrs. Jones has served as a collaborative and resource science teacher since joining gifted services in 2005. She facilitated the Galaxy and AIMS programs and served as the system chair on the science curriculum revision committee. She was a presenter at the National Association for Gifted Children. Mrs. Jones stated, “I do not want my classroom to be a place where students expect me simply to dispense knowledge, but instead, a place where they come to explore the world and develop their abilities to think critically and communicate clearly. I want to teach my students to be aware of what is occurring in the world and how they can make a difference.”

Education:

Bachelor degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southern University
Master degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University
STEM training from NESPAL
BrainGym training


       
       Becky Martin    
       

    Hannah Boyd

     

    Hannah is entering her fourth year teaching in Colquitt County. She began teaching at Doerun Elementary School and has taught Pre-K and 1st grade.  This year she is excited to be working with 3rdgraders teaching Science and Social Studies. Hannah graduated from Colquitt County High School in 2007 and will be a Packer for life! She went on from there to receive her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Georgia Southwestern State University. While doing practicum work during college, Hannah worked in Tift County teaching in a 4th grade gifted classroom. It was there that Hannah knew she wanted to work with this group of students. Currently, Hannah is working towards completing her Specialists degree, also from GSW.

     

    Hannah loves to travel when not working. Her very favorite place is St. George Island, Florida.  Outside of the U.S., Hannah has traveled to Germany, Paris, Jamaica, and Italy.  There she gained a rich appreciation of foreign cultures and hopes to add many more experiences in the future.  Hannah also loves spending time with her Great Dane, Marley. They are currently working on commands such as sit, stay, lay and stop. Marley is only nine-months old, so SURELY she will learn these simple commands soon.

     

    Hannah looks forward to being part of the GEAR family. She has already been going over the Georgia Standards and has started creating some dynamic lessons.

       
       Kayla Sellers

    In March of 1981 two important events that would define the course of my life occurred.  I married Denny Sellers and graduated from Valdosta State College with a Bachelor of Education Degree.  My teaching career began in Bainbridge, Georgia where we would establish our first home.   It was during my tenure at Jones Wheat Elementary in Bainbridge that I made the decision to further my education.  While continuing to teach, I commuted to Troy State University in Alabama to obtain my Master of Elementary Education Degree in 1985.  I enjoyed eight wonderful years of teaching at Jones Wheat.

    Denny was granted a transfer to Colquitt County in 1989.  Leaving our home in Bainbridge, we established our second and final home in Hartsfield.  I was elated to receive a position at Sunset Elementary.  I spent twenty-three blissful years teaching  both the second and third grades at Sunset.  While teaching there, I was honored to be twice named Sunset’s Teacher of the Year.  This humbling honor was bestowed upon me in the 1997-1998 school term and again in the 2008-2009 school term. 

    During my years at Sunset two beautiful additions were added to our family.  Our eldest child, Clay, was born in 1990, and four years later we were blessed with Camille.  Clay has graduated from college with a Bachelor Degree of Diversified Agriculture and is married to the former Kaitlyn Suber.  They have blessed our family with the addition of our first adorable grandchild, Clayton Joseph Sellers ll.  Camille is currently in college seeking a Master Degree of Speech Language Pathology. 

    In 2012 I retired from teaching.  It was not long after I made that decision that I knew my teaching career was not over.   I decided to substitute in schools thinking substituting would fill the void that I felt.  While I enjoyed this, I yearned for the long term connection to the children that I had so enjoyed during my teaching career.   At that point, I did the unthinkable!  I went back to get yet another credential added to my degree.  Who does that?  The answer would be--- ME! This time I sought a gifted endorsement.  I received my endorsement in 2013. I was blessed to become part of the GEAR staff in 2014.  


       
      Monica Tugwell

    I have been teaching in Colquitt County for 20 years.  The first 12 years of my teaching career were spent in special education, and the last eight have been in fourth and fifth grade. While in fourth grade I taught Language Arts and then in the fifth grade, I have taught Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies.

    While teaching at Norman Park, I have received the Principal's Award and have been selected as Teacher of the Year twice. I was chosen to receive the Georgia Power Company's "Bright Idea" grant and most recently was one of 200 teachers selected from across the nation to participate in the Exxon Mobile STEMS training this summer. I am very excited about working with the Exxon Mobile scientist to learn cutting edge techniques to use with my students.

    I have been very active at Norman Park School.  I have been a BETA Club sponsor, have organized and chaperoned our GA Studies Tours and our Washington Studies Tours, have helped organize and served as the MC at our talent show, and have helped head up our Relay for Life team. Some of the committees I have served on are the SACS review team, the leadership team, the "Feed My School" committee, and the GRASP team.
    I am passionate about education and the learning that takes place in my class. I have a simple philosophy; teachers should provide daily opportunities for students to learn and develop their strengths. I think a classroom should be a place of discovery where students develop skills to be independent problem solvers and navigate their own learning.  My job as their teacher is to provide them with a destination. The route to that destination is up to them.

    She has two wonderful daughters, Katie and Maddie. 

       
       Kelli Whatley

    Kelli is in her 6th year with the Colquitt County School system. This is her 2nd year as the GEAR nurse. She has been a nurse at Willie J. Williams Middle School and The Achievment Center. Kelli was also a Health Science teacher at CA Gray Jr. High School. Prior to joining the school sytem, she worked as a Registered Nurse in labor & delivery, women's health, and medical surgery departments. 

    Kelli is married to Keith Whatley and they have two children: Emma Kate and Cannon. The Whatley family keeps very busy with school sports. Emma Kate plays Lady Packer Varsity Volleyball and Tennis, while Cannon plays Packer baseball and runs Cross Country. Kelli and her husband, Keith, are both Georgia Southern University Alumni and love to cheer for the GSU Eagles!

    Education:
    Colquitt County High School-1989
    Georgia Southern University-Bachelor of Science in Nursing -1994
       
       Lori Weeks

    Lori Weeks is in her 20th year in the Colquitt County School System. Her teaching career began at Norman Park Elementary where she has had experience teaching kindergarten through fourth grade.  She served as a second grade gifted teacher for for 6 years at Norman Park Elementary before tranferring to the Gifted Center.  She is passionate about meeting the needs of her students and making sure that they are striving to be their very best!  Lori shared, “I love teaching gifted students because they challenge me! It is amazing to watch them eagerly become critical thinkers and problem solvers. My goal has always been to foster a love for learning by providing an interesting and challenging environment that allowed my students opportunities to be creative and become independent learners.” 

    Lori is married to Michael Weeks. They have a daughter who is a student at CA Gray Middle School and a son who is in the fifth grade at GEAR. Their children are active in sports as well as the Colquitt County 4H/ FFA livestock programs. Their family enjoys traveling and participating in the livestock shows in and around our county.

    Education:
    Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Master Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University
    Reading Endorsement
    Gifted Endorsement   
    Educational Leadership Certification

       
      Jeanine Wetherington

    Mrs. Wetherington is in her 32nd year of teaching.  She taught third grade for four years in the Cook County School System before transferring to the Colquitt County School System in 1983. She taught second grade one year at Okapilco and transferred to Norman Park where she taught 4th and 5th grades for 19 years.

    Mrs. Wetherington has been a collaborative K-5 science teacher with the Colquitt County Gifted Services for the past eight years.  She was the Teacher of the Year at Lenox Elementary and twice at Norman Park Elementary. She is a TOTY 2014 state finalist.

    Mrs. Wetherington believes that “My task as an educator is to teach students to understand their uniqueness, their gifts. and their responsibilities. Some children are born into a seemingly hopeless situation. Some just lose hope along the way. I want them to know there is always hope and they have a purpose and a mission in life.”

    Mrs. Wetherington is married to Duane Wetherington and lives on the family farm where they raised three children;Heath, Britney, and Sha. Heath is married to Jennifer Baker Wetherington. They have four girls: Jacey, Libby, Sadie, and Aubrey. Britney is married to Jake Mobley and they have one daughter, Allie.

    Education:

     Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education Valdosta State 

    Master Degree in Early Childhood Education Valdosta State University
    Specialist Degree in Early Childhood Education with a gifted endorsement Valdosta State University

     

       
      Rita Wills

    Ms. Wills is the daughter of Jo and James M. Bledsoe who were both educators in Colquitt County. Ms. Wills attended and graduated from Pineland School here in Moultrie. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia Southwestern College in Americus. Ms. Wills began her teaching career at Okapilco Elementary School in 1987. She soon earned a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State College. She taught at Okapilco for fourteen years then transferred to Sunset School. She has taught at Sunset for the last seven years, four of those years as a gifted instructor. Ms. Wills has earned a gifted endorsement as well as a math endorsement. She has taught advanced content math classes for the last three years.

    A veteran teacher of 21 years, Ms. Wills is passionate about her profession and believes that every child is unique and talented in his own way. “I believe it is my job as an educator to differentiate, encourage, and facilitate. Students learn and understand if they are allowed to discover at their own pace and with their interests in mind. What we expose children to should be meaningful and applicable to their lives.”