Professor of business ethics James Sennett speaks during Masters in Teaching: Life Changers at Work (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Brenau professor and seven others recognized as masters in their field

Mar 22, 2019
Kathryne Davis

A Brenau University professor and seven other area teachers were honored at the 11th annual Masters in Teaching: Life Changers at Work program presented by Featherbone Communiversity and Brenau held on Thursday, March 21.

Masters in Teaching honors a group of instructors annually from Northeast Georgia who excel in their expertise, influence and personal qualities.

A Brenau student listens to speeches during Masters in Teaching: Life Changers at Work (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

The honorees were James Sennett, professor of business ethics at Brenau; Loredana Simonca, English to Speakers of Other Languages at Gainesville Exploration Academy; Jessica Chambers, kindergarten teacher at New Holland Knowledge Academy; David Osmond, assistant professor in science at the University of North Georgia; Frank Zamora, social studies teacher at Johnson High School; Katie Eberhardt, literature teacher at Lanier College and Career Academy; Kelsey Marcero, college counselor at Lakeview Academy; and Brenda Barger, english teacher at Riverside Military Academy.

All of the honorees became teachers for different reasons and at different points in their lives, but all talked about how passionate they are for teaching students and how it is important to do something you enjoy.

“The secret to any success that I’ve had is that I love what I’m doing and I will not settle for second-best,” Sennett said. “I will not settle for good enough.”

Sennett, who earned his MBA from Brenau in 2014, got into teaching due to the mentors he had in his life. Two of his biggest heroes were high school English teachers. Every step he took through life, he always had someone he looked up to. It was these mentors that made him realize he wanted to pursue a career as a college professor — a career that he enjoys.

From left to right: David Osmond, Frank Zamora, Kelsey Marcero, Allison Townsend, Jessica Chambers, Loredana Simonca, Brenda Barger and James Sennett (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

“My advice to students about picking a major is find something you love and study the hell out of it,” Sennett said. “Because an intelligent, educated person can always find a way to pay the bills.

“My number one goal as a teacher is that I want to teach students to love to learn. I try to model that in my classes.”

Allison Townsend speaks during Masters in Teaching: Life Changers at Work (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Allison Townsend, 2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year, was the keynote speaker at the event Thursday. She teaches third grade at Barnwell Elementary School.

In her speech, Townsend discussed how she moved around as a child and was shy until one of her teachers was there for her in the small moments and listened to her. Today, she tries to do the same with her teaching.

Osmond, like Townsend, moved around a lot as a child. He hated school, but loved learning. After he finished school he realized he missed the learning, so he quit his job and became a substitute teacher. He wants students to continue learning and share their knowledge.

Students look up to teachers as mentors, but Osmond wants them to know that teachers aren’t perfect.

“This is a little bit of a secret in the teaching profession,” Osmond said. “We don’t really have things all figured out and we’re not an expert on things.

“We are constantly dealing with failure… and our own inadequacies. There’s a lot of things, me especially as a teacher, that I don’t know. I want people to know that, I want my students to know that. It’s OK for you to be totally confused.”