As a child, Deborah Stringfellow found “school to be a refuge from poverty and a source of joy.” Her parents had to abandon their own educational dreams because of family economic needs, but Deborah”s love of learning and helping others was innate.
“I embraced every opportunity to master my craft,” recalls Stringfellow. “I taught my two younger brothers to read, and during my sophomore year of high school, I tutored my mom through her GED. I knew by this time that I wanted to teach because becoming a teacher would allow me to remain in an environment I found to be comforting and rewarding.”
Now a 24-year teaching veteran and Gwinnett County”s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year, Stringfellow teaches seventh grade science at Alton C. Crews Middle School and is still passionate about her role. “I want to embrace every opportunity to love, nurture and teach the young lives that have been entrusted to my care… If I can instill a love of science and learning, then I have succeeded.”
By every professional standard imaginable, Stringfellow has more than succeeded. Raised in Alabama, she majored in education at Troy State University and then earned a master”s degree in special education and a specialist certificate in educational administration and supervision. She”s also certified to teach gifted students. Stringfellow earned her National Board Certification more than ten years ago — the first person in her school district to do so.
In fact, she”s participated in over 3,000 hours of staff development at the local, state and national level as a facilitator and participant. “I want my integrity and passion for learning to inspire others,” she says.
Stringfellow has taught in Gwinnett County and at Crews for seven years, putting a high priority on building a sense of community in her classroom and among her students. “People don”t care how much you know, till they know how much you care,” is one of her favorite quotes.