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Calhoun City Schools named its four school-level teachers of the year recently, the first step toward ultimately picking a Teacher of the Year later in the school year.

The teachers picked in included Dena Pullen at Calhoun Primary School; Jennifer Holley at Calhoun Elementary School; Skylar Benham at Calhoun Middle School; and Dedra Rasbury at Calhoun High School.

The Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by First Bank of Calhoun.

The following details about the teachers were provided by the school system:

Dena Pullen

Pullen is currently in her 18th year in the education profession, where she teaches first grade at CPS. She began her teaching career at Red Bud Elementary in Gordon County and came to Calhoun Primary in 2010. Pullen has taught kindergarten and first grade, and she holds a math and English language learner endorsement. She has one son, Gunner, who is in the fifth grade at CES, and two daughters, Marlee, a junior at CHS, and Bailee, who graduated from CHS in 2019.

Pullen is described as a positive influence, passionate, driven and someone that welcomes everyone she meets. She is known for building positive relationships and enjoys when her students come back to visit her.

One of her peers stated, “Dena is an outstanding educator. She is always prepared and ready for all of her students. She is very caring and captures the hearts of all the students in her classroom.”

Jennifer Holley

Holley is currently in her eighth year of teaching. She began her teaching career in Cobb County and came to Calhoun Elementary in 2015. She currently teaches fourth grade math at CES. Holley holds a math and a gifted endorsement. She is a team player and can always be counted on to offer help and support to her colleagues and students. Holley greets her students with a smile each morning and her colleagues describe her as a natural motivator. She is married to Brock Holley and they have one daughter, Julia.

One of her peers stated, “Jenn goes above and beyond for her students, parents, and fellow teachers! She takes initiative and heads up difficult tasks.”

Skylar Benham

Benham is currently in his fifth year in education and third year at Calhoun Middle School. He serves as a seventh grade social studies teacher and also serves as a member of both the CMS leadership team and school governance team. Benham holds a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from Kennesaw State University, a master’s degree in instructional technology from Kennesaw State University and a specialist’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Piedmont College.

In addition to his teaching duties, Benham is the sponsor of the CHS senior class and serves as the Student Government sponsor for Calhoun High School.

Benham’s peers stated, “Mr. Benham does a great job of connecting with his students, as well as pushing them to strive towards perfection. Skylar attends as many extra curricular activities and supports as many organizations as possible. He always has a smile on his face and warms the hearts of all those around him.”

Dedra Rasbury

Rasbury currently teaches geometry at CHS, serves as lead teacher for the math department and is a member of the CHS leadership team. The 2020-2021 school year marks Mrs. Rasbury’s 18th year in education. Rasbury holds a master’s degree in math education from the University of Alabama.

Her peers shared, “Dedra is very organized and caring. She is a great teacher who focuses on the individual student and is continually seeking to meet students’ needs through differentiated instruction. She keeps a positive attitude and students seem to really connect with her and enjoy her class. She gives tough love along with extending them grace. She is also a great department head and PLC lead who uses her life and teaching experience to inspire fellow teachers to be lifelong learners in pursuit of always improving our craft. She strives to be an example and mentor to other teachers.”

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