Each year, Fort Valley State University’s College of Education holds an initiation ceremony for students who have successfully completed the requirements of the Teacher Education Program and are seeking initial certification into the teaching profession. During this ceremony, students affirm their commitment and dedication to the teaching profession. The ceremony takes place Thursday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m., at the C. W. Pettigrew Center auditorium. The guest speaker is Casey Bethel, Georgia’s current teacher of the year.
Casey M. Bethel is a passionate educator, an accomplished scientist and a mentor to students of all ages. He is a proud graduate of Fort Valley State University and the University of Georgia. Before teaching, he earned a master’s degree in plant genetics and conducted experimental research at the Center for Applied Genetic Technologies. During that time, he published findings in various peer reviewed journals, including The Journal of Theoretical and Applied Genetics.
Bethel is proud to be involved in science education on every level. He has hosted STEM exhibitions for various elementary schools. For two years, he tutored science students at Turner Middle School and helped increase their CRCT and milestone scores. At New Manchester High School, Bethel teaches advanced placement biology and physics, where he aims to inspire the next generation of scientists. He is also an adjunct professor at a local university. Lessons he designed have been published in The Journal of Chemical Education. In 2015, he was nominated for the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.
As a scientist, he now conducts experimental research in biochemistry, hoping to find cures for Alzheimer’s disease and inherited glaucoma.
At New Manchester High, the educator sponsors the Chick Fil-A Leader Academy and Project Manhood, a male mentoring group. He also coaches varsity boys soccer. He and his wife, Elise, are parents to twins, Jaxon and Harper.