2017- 2018 Carmel Elementary School Teacher of The Year – Heidi Sansone!

2017- 2018 Carmel Elementary School Teacher of The Year – Heidi Sansone!

Congratulations to our 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Heidi Sansone!

2017 Carmel ES Teacher of the Year Heidi Sansone pictured with her family and Carmel ES Administration. We are thrilled to announce that Mrs. Heidi Sansone has been selected by her peers as the 2017 – 2018 Carmel Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Mrs. Sansone shared the following regarding her nomination.

I am honored and humbled to represent Carmel Elementary School as their Teacher of the Year.  This is my 10th year working as a teacher.  I earned a B.A. degree in Economics and Computer Science at S.U.N.Y. Cortland College. After graduation, I enjoyed two very successful careers.  I worked in the retail management industry for three years, then, changing gears, I moved to Wall Street, which had always been my dream.  I was a successful, well-valued and respected employee at one of the top five investment banks in the country.  That was the job I had always wanted, but in one striking moment, I realized that there was something very important lacking in my thriving career.

I vividly remember sitting in the corner of my living room, watching my three-year-old daughter, Emily, sitting on the floor next to her baby sister, Madeline.  In Emily’s hands was the book Go Dog Go by Dr. Seuss.  For a moment, I thought I was hearing things, but I listened closer and realized that the sounds were real.  My little girl was reading!  No, she was not a child prodigy who was able to read at three years old, but rather a bright, enthusiastic child who loved to listen to stories.  I had read her the story so many times that she was able to recite it, page by page, front to back.  She had learned to recite that story.

Looking back on that day, I realized that what had been missing from my successful career was a real sense of fulfillment.  The feeling I had when I heard her utter those words was priceless.  I had taught her how to recite that story and I realized at that moment that not one of my professional successes had ever left me so fulfilled.  I saw that I had the ability to teach and that I had made a difference in her life.  I never imagined that this little girl would learn so much, so quickly.  I had completely underestimated the creativity and ability that a child possesses at such a young age.

Within the next few months, I enrolled in graduate school at Long Island University in 2005 and resigned from “Corporate America” in 2007 to complete my student teaching.  I graduated in May, 2007 with a Master’s degree and  dual certification in Childhood Education and Literacy.  Within 6 months of graduation, my family relocated to Georgia for my husband’s job.  After three years of long-term substitute teaching, I was fortunate enough to be hired as a Carmel Colt.  Over the last 10 years, I have had an opportunity to teach in classrooms from Kindergarten through fifth grade.  I have been a first grade teacher for the past four years, where my passion lies.

I put my heart and soul into my students every day.  I challenge them to be better than “good enough”, and I encourage them to be better than they were yesterday. I teach them to measure themselves, and not to measure themselves against someone else.  My top priority is making sure that every student in my classroom has an opportunity to feel successful and to provide them with activities that allow them to recognize their own growth and accomplishments.

Over the years, I have come to know that I possess the characteristics necessary to be a successful teacher: patience, determination, resilience, strength, ambition, and, most of all, the desire to make a difference.  My previous career accustomed me to long hours, hard work, and great challenges, and allowed me the opportunity to realize that I wanted more from my life’s work than a paycheck. Rather than saying “I have a job,” I say with the greatest enthusiasm and pride, “I am a teacher.”  I want to be able to look back on my life and know that I made a difference.

Mrs. Sansone will be celebrated in December with the other CCSD Teacher’s of The Year at the annual CCSD TOTY Banquet.

Meet Dr. H!

Carmel's New 2017 Assistant Principal, Dr. H. Dr. Michele Harcarik was born in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She attended Broward County Schools and then started her college career at the University of Central Florida. After graduating with a degree in Hospitality Management, she went on to become a flight attendant and spent two years traveling the globe. At this point, she decided to change careers and enrolled in Florida Atlantic University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. She began teaching in Broward County Schools in 2000 and shortly after went on to pursue a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at Florida Atlantic University. During her 10 years with Broward County Schools, Dr. Harcarik taught grades 2-5 and also Science as a specials class. At the completion of her doctorate, Dr. Harcarik fulfilled a long-time dream of living in the DC area. She moved to Northern Virginia and worked with Falls Church City Schools as a Reading Specialist at Thomas Jefferson Elementary and Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School before becoming an Assistant Principal at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. She is currently entering her 18th year in education. For 10 years, Dr. Harcarik was also able to fulfill her love of travel by working for the People to People organization as a chaperone on student travel programs, traveling to places like Australia, Hawaii, Italy, Greece, France, etc. In addition to her K-8 experience, she taught preservice teachers as an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University and Marymount University in Virginia.

In 2016, Dr. Harcarik adopted her son Ryan. This past summer, they moved to Georgia to be closer to her family who had relocated to Cumming, GA from Florida. In her free time, when not keeping up with her 15 month old, Dr. Harcarik likes to run, do Pilates and yoga, read, and bake.

Dr. Harcarik (Har-char-ik) is excited about the new school year and becoming a part of the Carmel family!

Meet Ms. Peppers

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Category : Meet the Staff | New Staff

Ms. Julie PeppersCarmel is thrilled to welcome Ms. Peppers as our new Assistant Principal for grades 3 – 5.


Ms. Julie Prather Peppers was born in LaGrange, GA, but at the age of four moved to Canton, GA. She is a product of the Cherokee County School District, graduating from Cherokee High School in 2002. She attended college on a cross country/track and field scholarship at Georgia Southern University for two years and then graduated with honors from Reinhardt College in Waleska, GA. She still holds school athletic records at Cherokee High and Georgia Southern along with NAIA athletic honors and NAIA All-American Academic honors at Reinhardt. Since graduating with a BS in Education, she has earned her Masters and Specialist Degrees from Piedmont College.  She began her teaching career in Cherokee County in July 2006. She has taught at Hasty ES, Knox ES, Johnston ES, and Bascomb ES. She is very excited to start her 11th year in education as a new Assistant Principal at Carmel ES.

Ms. Peppers is married to Billy Peppers, the current City Manager for the City of Canton, and they have two sons, Turner (starting Kindergarten at Carmel) and Jennings (3 years old). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching Reinhardt University football (where her father coaches), working in her yard, photography, and running.

Ms. Peppers appreciates the warm, friendly reception from Carmel’s staff, students and parents and she believes this is going to be a fantastic school year! Go Colts!