Tracey Pendley

Tracey Nance Pendley, an Atlanta Public Schools 4th grade teacher at Burgess Peterson Academy in East Atlanta, has been named the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods made the announcement at a ceremony on May 18. As the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Pendley will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession in Georgia. She will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
“Tracey’s Georgia Teacher of the Year recognition speaks to her love and passion for our students and for teaching and to the tremendous impact she is having on our students’ lives and on their future,” said APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen. “This is an incredible honor for Tracey and for APS as it’s the first time in nearly four decades that one of our teachers has won this award. We are so proud of Tracey for being a shining example of what teaching excellence is and should be, and we are grateful to her for being a part of our APS family.”
In addition to being named the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Pendley is the reigning winner of APS’ Excellence in Teaching Award. She received this recognition in October 2018, which highlights the district’s best, brightest and most accomplished classroom educators. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Atlanta Families Award for Excellence in Education.
Pendley in the classroom.

In applying to teach at APS, Pendley said, “Every child is deserving of an education that challenges, fosters responsibility, and teaches about the world and the many possibilities for their own lives. In my classroom these beliefs translate into a literacy and numeracy rich environment in which daily differentiated instruction, relationship building, and critical thinking are key. I challenge students to think critically about important historical events and to draw connections between themselves and people of different races, cultures, and beliefs. I believe all students should have some magic in the classroom.”
Pendley began her teaching career with APS seven years ago as a 4th grade teacher and interventionist at Toomer Elementary. In 2013 she became a 4th grade teacher and mentor teacher for the CREATE teacher residency program where she has the opportunity to prepare future teachers and magnify the power of education at Burgess Peterson Academy.
Prior to coming to APS, Pendley was a 3rd grade teacher at Dodge Renaissance Academy in Chicago Public Schools from 2009 to 2012, and she was also the Director/Tutor of a ministry-based after school program in Greenville, South Carolina from 2002 to 2006. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Chicago, Urban Teacher Education Program and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Religion from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Read more about Pendley on Carstarphen’s blog at

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.