FCS Announces 2024-25 Teacher and Professionals of the Year

  • Posted 5/20/2024


    Azuloy Life Named Fulton County Schools 2024-2025 Teacher of the Year

    Azuloy Life, who joined the staff of Sandtown Middle School in 2020, was named the 2024-2025 Fulton County Schools (FCS) Teacher of the Year.

    “Ms. Life is completely dedicated to the students at Sandtown,” said Sandtown Principal Miranda Freeman. “She goes above and beyond to provide support for her students as well as her colleagues.”

    Life has been a teacher since 1992. She believes effective classroom management, consistency, and teacher preparation are key essentials for students to achieve.

    “My routines and procedures are conducted daily, which includes how students enter my room each morning by greeting me, using positive manners, and being re-directed to ensure what is expected,” Life said. “Students in my classroom are celebrated often, with perfect attendance for the month, Honor Roll and Shining and Rising Stars of the month. I have also incorporated Writer of the Week, so that when new tasks are assigned, I can observe the students who are listening and actively completing various tasks correctly.”

    As a 6th grade reading teacher, Life says communication with her students is key.

    “An essential part of my strategy is conferencing with my students, as well as having constant communication with emails, telephone calls and notes to parents and guardians regarding behavior, work habits and grades,” Life said. “This communication also involves positive feedback concerning the student as well.”

    Sharing her wealth of knowledge is important to Life.

    “She is caring and empathetic to all and is willing to give more than 100%,” said Principal Freeman. “For example, Ms. Life not only leaves detailed lesson plans for her substitute teachers, but she also provides a gift bag for them that includes snacks and trinkets to show appreciation for them guest teaching in her class.”

    Currently studying for a Doctorate at Georgia Southern University, Life earned her Master of Science in Education in 2000. Before joining FCS, she worked for Clayton County Schools.

    Life has a classroom that is data driven.

    “Her students are actively engaged and own their learning,” Principal Freeman said.

    The FCS Teacher of the Year is committed to helping her students succeed.

    “When a student is having challenges with a skill, I continue to provide time within the school day to support that student with additional reviews and resources he or she can take home for practice,” Life said. “I also make sure that scholars are aware that it is ok to say, ‘I don’t understand.’ The goal in my classroom is for my scholars to feel they are loved but expected to give their best in their work.”

    Azuloy Life


    Fulton County Schools Selects 2024-2025 School Professional of the Year

    Deborah Yi, cafeteria manager at Lake Winward Elementary, was named the 2024-2025 Fulton County Schools (FCS) School Professional of the Year.

    “Ms. Yi’s work ethic is exemplary,” said Lake Winward Principal Julie Morris. “Not only does she efficiently manage cafeteria operations, but she also takes the initiative to establish meaningful connections with students. Ms. Yi’s genuine interest in getting to know the students individually has created a sense of belonging and community within the cafeteria space.”

    Beyond the cafeteria, Yi has excelled in helping enhance instruction.

    “Ms. Yi blew away my students with her knowledgeable expertise as she enthusiastically led them on field trips focused on the objectives she and I discussed in advance,” said Lake Winward Talented and Gifted (TAG) teacher Terri Goldman. “For our 3rd grade Kitchen Chemistry unit, Ms. Yi showed the kids measuring techniques both for volume and temperature, kitchen tools, proper handwashing, and best practices for a safe kitchen. She supported our Mystery Powder Iron Chef baking contest and served as a respected judge.”

    Providing an interactive experience for Lake Winward students, Yi gave 5th graders an engaging lesson demonstrating ways she and her staff maintain food safety.

    “The students were so impressed with the sanitary practices and procedures Ms. Yi maintains and are grateful to her and her staff as protectors of health and cleanliness,” Goldman said.

    In addition to providing instructional opportunities for students, Ms. Yi invests considerable time to decorating the cafeteria to align with various celebrations.

    “Her creative decorations and thematic arrangements never fail to delight students and staff alike, adding a touch of joy and festivity to our school environment,” said Principal Morris.

    Deborah Yi


    Jodi McDaniel Named Fulton County Schools 2024-2025 Support Professional of the Year

    Jodi McDaniel, Fulton County Schools (FCS) Professional Assistant III for two superintendents in Zones 4 and 7, was named 2024-2025 Support Professional of the Year. She was nominated by Zone 4 Superintendent Alexandra Bates.

    “Jodi McDaniel is a classic case of all that is good with Fulton County Schools,” Bates said. “As the Professional Assistant III, she quickly became indispensable in the Division of the Chief of Staff. She has a true servant’s attitude and continuously figures out ways to make the families, staff, and communities we serve in Zones 4 and 7 feel heard, safe, well informed and seen.”

    Zone 7 Superintendent Kibbey Crumbley agrees: “In less than one year in her role, Ms. McDaniel has truly revolutionized our efficiencies because of her outstanding communications skills, both in writing, verbally and in print communications. She manages multiple stakeholder concerns by developing an efficient system to collect, respond, resolve, and close out complaints/concerns.”

    Before joining FCS in 2019, McDaniel worked as a project manager for a printing company and as a packaging and graphics manager for a pharmaceutical company. She holds a college degree in graphic design.

    “I am customer service driven,” McDaniel says. “Whether it is internal or external customers, I always strive to give 100 percent.”

    "Ms. Bates cited a concept from an article in the Harvard Business Review that irreplaceable employees do not just come up with ideas or point out problems. “They focus on the best way to accomplish the task...they get things done and achieve results.”


    Jodi McDaniel