Worth County economics teacher named Georgia Teacher of the Year

Georgia 2018 Teacher of the Year John R. Tibbetts teaches economics at Worth County High School. (GaDOE)

From the Georgia Department of Education:

John R. Tibbetts, an economics teacher from Worth County High School in Sylvester, is the 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year, State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced today. As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Tibbetts will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.

“I am grateful to Mr. Tibbetts for his service to our country and his service to the students of Georgia, and I’m honored to recognize him as the 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year,” Superintendent Woods said. “Throughout the application process, it’s been clear that Mr. Tibbetts is both an exemplary teacher and an individual who is concerned, first and foremost, about the success and potential of every student who enters his classroom. I look forward to working with him to tell the story of all the great work taking place in Georgia’s public schools.”

Tibbetts graduated from the United States Military Academy and went on to serve for 21 years as an officer in the U.S. Army. During his time in the military, he was stationed overseas for more than five years, including service in Desert Storm, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

Following his military service, Tibbetts spent time working in the private sector but ultimately decided to pursue a teaching career, first at Tift County High School and later at Worth County High, where he  teaches economics.

“As much as any subject taught in high school, economics is part of the very fabric of our daily lives and relevant to what is currently ongoing in the world around us,” he wrote in his Teacher of the Year application. “Teaching economics provides the opportunity to affect our students’ livelihoods, quality of life, and their futures.”

Tibbetts holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Military Art and Science, Operational Art from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, School of Advanced Military Studies. He has served as a presenter at the National Council for History Education National Convention and the NCHE History Colloquium, and is a Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy Mentor at Worth County High School. In his time away from school, he is active in his church and is a Georgia High School Association certified wrestling referee.

In the classroom, Tibbetts seeks to create a thought-provoking, challenging, and enjoyable academic experience for students. He focuses on hands-on, active-learning activities that allow students to connect with economic concepts through classroom simulations.

“I suspect every teacher has experienced that lightbulb moment in the classroom when one knows the students have engaged and truly understand the material,” Tibbetts wrote in his application. “Last year, I was approached late in the day by an assistant principal who asked, ‘Mr. Tibbetts, what’s with all the paper cups at lunch?’ The lesson that day involved ‘manufacturing’ paper cups from a sheet of paper to demonstrate the concepts behind the Gross Domestic Product. The [assistant principal] reported that senior football players were proudly showing off their newfound skills at lunch to amaze their tablemates by folding a paper cup and demonstrating it would hold milk without spilling a drop. I was as proud as I could be.”

In a Q&A with GaDOE, Tibbetts described great teachers as possessing the following character traits: “Empathy, patience, and a pinch of stubbornness, as well as a healthy sense of humor.”

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Tibbetts will represent Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and potentially conducting workshops and programs for educators. He will also participate in the competitive selection process for the 2018 National Teacher of the Year.

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Reader Comments 0

10 comments
ErnestB
ErnestB

What a resume!  The students at Worth County are very fortunate to have him as both a teacher and role model.

JustThinking07
JustThinking07

Mr. Tibbetts gained his initial teaching certification through Georgia's NonTraditional pathway - GaTAPP - Congratulations!

GATOTY78
GATOTY78

Congratulations from the 1978 GA TOTY!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Congratulations to Mr. Tibbetts!

John McClellan
John McClellan

An outstanding choice for this honor with a solid record of service to his profession, his community and his country. John Tibbetts is well deserving of this award.

John53
John53

An outstanding teacher and outstanding person who is well deserving of this honor!

Peter_Smagorinsky
Peter_Smagorinsky

Congratulations to Mr. Tibbets, to the other finalists and school & district Teachers of the Year, and to all other outstanding Georgia teachers who do so much for our schools and communities.

alt.AJC
alt.AJC

If only our social studies students were taught how the world actually works, rather than perpetually fed grievances and resentment.

Zzyzxman123
Zzyzxman123

@alt.AJC Perhaps this is why he won. He is a wealth of knowledge and is well deserving of this honor.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Congratulations to this excellent teacher from South Georgia, where I had lived in my early years. Excellence is not limited to any place or time.

I noticed that Mr. Tibbetts named 'empathy' first in his list of necessary traits for a teacher. It is impossible to be a great teacher without empathy, imo.