Two APS educators Named 2015 Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education

Dave Howland, founding school leader at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate and Tiffany Smith, first-grade teacher at F.A. Toomer Elementary School, are two of 11 educators surprised Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 by Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE) representatives and APS officials. The two educators were honored for their work in improving student achievement and student self-esteem, while also collaborating with community stakeholders.

The Toomer community and Homer from the Atlanta Braves surrounds teacher Tiffany Smith as she receives her check from the Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education

Smith received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education with a Pre-K through 2nd emphasis from the University of Georgia. She is fully invested in offering an innovative curriculum to her students and has been recognized for her dedication. As Toomer’s current “Teacher of the Year,” Smith’s goal as an educator to create a classroom environment and curriculum where her students’ background, abilities, interests and dislikes are respected while helping to foster their mental, physical and social growth.

Howland also positively influenced the students he serves at KIPP. With a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Rochester and a master’s in education from National Louis University, Howland has significantly altered the way students learn. By building on the success of nearly 20 KIPP high schools nation-wide, Howland’s leadership has brought huge successes to the school.

Principal Dave Howland of KIPP Collegiate Atlanta receives his check from Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education

Educators from Atlanta Public Schools, Cobb County Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools and Gwinnett County Schools received $7,500 prizes to be used for innovative classroom projects ($3,500), professional development ($1,500) and a personal stipend ($2,500).  AFAEE worked with school administration and support staff to throw a surprise party for all of the winners. They celebrated with balloons, over-sized checks, gifts for their students, special mascots and guests.

Over the last 10 years, AFAEE has granted more than $2 million to 117 educators and their classrooms. The Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education recognizes and honors outstanding educators in a manner that informs and recognizes the community. The 2015 winners will be formally celebrated with an awards ceremony on Nov. 5, 2015, at The Carter Center. To find out more info about the event and the Atlanta Families’ Awards, please visit

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