Member of Panther family honored as finalist for Econ Teacher of the Year

Hayeon Choi, Staff Writer

Just like each school and each county having a teacher of the year award, the Georgia Council on Economic Education recognizes the top economic teachers with the Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year award. This year, Walt Ellison from Starr’s Mill was chosen as one of the three finalists for the Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year.

“I enjoy teaching in general. However, in economics I get to ask questions that students may not have thought about before. Hopefully those questions change how a student looks at decisions and behavior. That change can be pretty impactful. It’s a skill students take with them versus simply memorizing definitions or dates,” economics teacher Walt Ellison said.

In the past, Starr’s Mill has had three Georgia Econ Teachers of the Year: Mark DeCourcy in 2003, Mike Raymer in 2005, and Michael Melvin in 2010.  Ellison now adds his name to that list.

“Mr. Ellison was a fantastic candidate because he does an amazing job of bringing economics alive for his students,” associate director of Georgia Council on Economic Education Mike Raymer said. “We [GCEE] were very impressed with his grasp of the subject matter and his ability to relate it to the lives of his students.”

The Georgia Econ Teacher of the Year is an award that recognizes K-12 economics and personal finance teachers in the state of Georgia. The Georgia Council on Economic Education has been giving this award since 1986. Out of many applicants, GCEE recognized two Teachers of the Year and three finalists.

The Georgia Council on Economic Education sponsors the Econ Teacher of the Year program. GCEE helps teachers teach economics in the public and independent schools of Georgia. The candidates must be currently teaching economics or personal finance, through the nomination and completed applications, the GCEE staff observes candidates in their classrooms.

“Economics is the study of choices. People make them everyday. So understanding why people make the choices they do helps explain that behavior and possibly even change the behavior,” Ellison said.