In 2013, Jemelleh Coes, as the youngest member of her school faculty and staff, was nominated to represent Bulloch County as Teacher of the Year. She went on to become Georgia’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. She taught middle grades language arts and math in both the general and special education settings. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Practice with certificates in Disability Studies, Interdisciplinary Law and Policy, and Qualitative Research at the University of Georgia. She also serves as a supervising instructor for teacher candidates in the middle grades program at the University of Georgia.
She is the daughter of immigrant parents and a first generation college graduate. She was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Decatur, Georgia. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Education with a concentration in Special Education and her Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Teaching and Learning from Georgia Southern University. During her tenure at Georgia Southern University, she traveled nationally and internationally to collect data from various educational systems in order to find ways to make improvements and validate the successes of our local systems. Jemelleh believes that greatness lies within every student and sometimes it takes a little ingenuity to let it shine through.
While pursuing her terminal degree, Jemelleh serves as a board member for National Network of State Teachers of the Year, advisory councilman for the Georgia Partnership of Excellence in Education, board member for the Georgia Cyber Academy, advisory councilman of Georgia’s Network for Transforming Educator Preparation, NAACP State of Georgia Education Committee Co-Chair, and board member for Georgia Southern University Alumni.
She recently started a mentoring program for middle school girls in her local community. She works with various educational organizations to build resources that will improve teacher practice and student learning. She gives keynote addresses and workshops for schools, districts, policymakers, businesses, communities, and service organizations to spread the great news about education and to keep them engaged in how we can work together to ensure a bright for all students.
“The ticket to greatness lies within every child. A great teacher is willing to turn over every rock, carve every stone, and open every candy bar until they find that golden ticket!” –Jemelleh Coes