Hometown Hero: Local Teacher Named Runner-Up In Ga. Teacher Of The Year
In May of last year, local educator Vanessa Ellis was recognized for her exceptional teaching abilities as the Muscogee County Teacher of the Year. Now, as her dedication to students continues to exceed the standard, Ellis has been named as the Runner Up for the 2024 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Explore the full story to see how you can help support outstanding teachers like Vanessa Ellis as they continue to develop the bright future of our city.
An artistic expression of Vanessa Ellis, the Muscogee County School District Teacher of the Year, superimposed on a colorized image of her school building at Veterans Memorial Middle School. Ellis’ exceptional abilities as an educator have now led to her being named as Runner Up for the Georgia Teacher of the Year.
Image Credit:
Muscogee Muckraker

Residents can help support our city’s public educators as they develop the future of our city by contacting the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation.

COLUMBUS, Ga. — A local Fountain City educator’s exceptional teaching abilities have been formally recognized by the State of Georgia, naming her as the Runner Up in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition.

Vanessa Ellis, a Columbus native with a lifelong passion for education, inspires the future of our city each and every day in her eighth grade social studies classroom at Veterans Memorial Middle School — go rangers!

Born in Jamaica, Ellis moved to the Fountain City at a young age and became a proud product of the Muscogee County School District. 

After graduating from Jordan Vocational High School, Ellis received both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Columbus State University. Ellis was later named a Harvard Fellow in 2018. 

With a knack for community service, Ellis also serves on the Georgia Public Broadcasting Teacher Advisory Group, as well as on the Springer Theatre Academy Education Committee.

Ellis brings all of her experiences and background to bear in her classroom each and every day for her students. With a focus on developing ‘the whole child,’ her proven track record of nurturing the minds and futures of her students led to her being named the 2017 Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year.

As she continued to hone-in on her students’ success, Ellis was recognized again as the 2022 MCSD Teacher of the Year. 

That tremendous list of achievements grew to include Ellis being named as a finalist for the Georgia Teacher of the Year — and local officials took note. 

Back on April 11 of this year, the Columbus City Council recognized Ellis’ outstanding work. Council Judy Thomas (District 9) read a resolution into the record naming April 11th as “Vanessa Ellis Day.” 

Now, Ellis has since gone on to win the title of Runner Up in the Georgia Teacher of the Year competition. 

When city officials recognized Ellis back in April, Ellis gave a selfless speech after her well-deserved recognition. 

Instead of focusing the limelight on herself, Ellis chose to use the opportunity to speak about the importance of the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation, more commonly referred to as MEEF

The foundation’s mission is to recognize and reward outstanding teachers in our city. As a non-profit organization, MEEF raises funds to provide recognition, training, and much-needed resources to teachers throughout the Muscogee County School District. 

In doing so, MEEF coordinates the efforts of local businesses and community leaders who advocate for excellence in our city’s public education to nourish the lives and futures of our children. 

We hope you’ll consider supporting MEEF in its mission. The future of our city depends upon it. 

We at the Muckraker are very proud of Vanessa Ellis and all of her colleagues — faculty and staff alike — for their incredible work in fostering the future of our city. Thank you for everything you continue to do each and every day.

Residents can help support our city’s public educators as they develop the future of our city by contacting the Muscogee Educational Excellence Foundation.


Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.


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