GHS' Ried named teacher of year
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.
When Diane Ried goes to the grocery store, it sometimes takes an hour to get to the checkout line.
Current and former students usually stop the teacher to chat and catch up. After 29 years at Gainesville High School, the European history teacher has a lot of fans.
Ried's husband, Doug, said he's gotten used to her popularity.
"She's a figure in this community," he said.
On Thursday night, when Ried was named this year's Alachua County teacher of the year, he wasn't surprised.
"It's the pinnacle of my professional experience," she said in between posing for photos while clutching a bouquet of flowers and a plaque.
Ried joined 40 other teachers for the annual gala held to recognize the top teachers at each county school. More than 500 people filled Trinity United Methodist Church for the event.
School Board Chair Eileen Roy smiled widely as she eyed the crowd feasting on food catered by Eastside High School's Institute of Culinary Arts.
"I'm thrilled for the teachers," she said.
Soon after, each school's teacher of the year lined up with their principals. Standing next to his grinning principal, Mebane Middle School's teacher of the year Tim Hinchman said he wasn't sure he liked the attention, but he appreciated the honor.
"It's nice to recognized," he said.
The opening guitar lines to The Beatles' "Drive My Car" signaled the procession to start the ceremony — themed "Driving Students to Success."
Each of 41 teachers was recognized as videotaped interviews with them played on a screen above the stage.
The elementary and high school teachers of the year, Alachua Elementary's Jessie Jung and Howard Bishop's Jamie Morris, were each introduced by students and they addressed the crowd.
Jung thanked colleagues and mentors she's had throughout her career.
"It takes a village to raise a teacher," she said.
Morris said he felt honored to receive the recognition during the year he gets to teach his son in American history class.
"For me, every day is ‘take your child to work' day," he said.
Ried, who started at GHS nearly 30 years ago as a German and French teacher and now teaches Advanced Placement European history, did not say much on her first trip to the microphone.
"Just thank God for teachers," she said. "Thank God."
Along with the distinction of going on to represent Alachua County at the state teacher of the year program, Ried walked away with the keys to a Toyota Prius from the Gatorland Family of Dealerships, one of the sponsors of the event.
When Ried got to speak again after being named teacher of the year, she had a few more words that drew cheers from the audience.
"I want you to know: Those who can, teach," she said.
Contact Joey Flechas at 338-3166 or email@example.com.