Northeast High School's Jadun McCarthy is Bibb County's 2011 "Teacher of the Year."
He was selected from a group of 41 top teachers, one from each school in the district. The award was announced Monday.
McCarthy says he's a product of Bibb County schools and graduated in 1998 from Northeast High School. Now he teaches American literature and language arts there.
McCarthy says he had completed law school when he decided to become an educator instead. He says he wanted to keep kids away from the criminal justice system, rather than put them there.
"When I tell them that 'You can achieve and that "Obstacles can't stop you'," McCarthy says, "they know that I'm telling the truth because I tell them that 'I sat in the desk that you sat in'."
McCarthy says he uses tools like analogies to relate lessons to students' everyday lives.
One student says he likes McCarthy's teaching style; another says McCarthy's class gets him ready for college.
"He puts effort into teaching us," Devonta Quainter, a 12th-grade student, said. "He makes sure we get the curriculum that he's giving."
"He bring more out of me," Denzel Council, an 11th-grade student, said. "He make me reach into my mind, he make me think more."
McCarthy describes winning the award as "humbling."
"It's an awesome experience," McCarthy said, "and I simply hope that I can...be a good representation of all the hard work that educators put in every day throughout this county."
Mccarthy leads Northeast High School's academic bowl team and serves as advisor for both the junior and senior classes.