With inspirational messages, GCPS welcomes 1,200 new teachers

Jamie Lynn McFarland told herself she wouldn’t cry, but those who know her, like Nikki Mouton, said she could set a timer to it.

McFarland, the reigning Teacher of the Year in Gwinnett County Public Schools, gave an emotional speech on Tuesday at the Infinite Energy Center at an orientation event to more than 1,200 teachers who are new to the district or brand-new to education.

McFarland teaches special education students who have severe and profound intellectual disabilities at Rock Springs Elementary. Mouton, as executive director of curriculum and instruction with GCPS, has heard McFarland’s message before, and expected the emotional and passionate message.

“I believe that as educators, it is absolutely imperative that we do a better job of intentionally teaching our general education students how to interact with, build relationships with and value their peers with special needs,” McFarland said.