2014 Teacher Winner
School: KIPP STRIVE Academy—Atlanta Public Schools
5th Grade Writing
Celeste McNeil was born and raised in Atlanta. A graduate of Clemson University in South Carolina, she majored in English and went on to join the mission for educational equity with Teach For America in 2007. As a member of TFA’s Eastern North Carolina Corps, Celeste taught Language Arts for three years at Eaton Johnson Middle School in Henderson, North Carolina. In her time there, she served as the Content Learning Community co-leader for the region’s middle school ELA teachers and was nominated for the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. After her tour of the Carolinas, Celeste felt her hometown calling her back. She joined the family at KIPP STRIVE Academy as the founding Reading teacher on the 6th grade team. This is currently her fourth year at STRIVE, and her seventh year in education. Highlights from Celeste’s career in teaching include implementing and orchestrating an annual Poetry Slam Competition, creating a Real World Reading Challenge to connect students with members of the greater learning community, and engaging in the art of reading and writing with her students every day.