It’s been a good year for Elizabeth Bennett.
The 10th-grade English teacher and girls basketball coach at Richmond Hill High School has received two big awards for the 2011-2012 school year — Teacher of the Year and Coach of the year.
“It’s very exciting, and I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished,” said Bennett. “It’s just great. This is my life, and I’m so happy.”
Bennett, who has degrees from Ashland University, Armstrong Atlantic State University and Georgia Southern University, was selected for the Teacher of the Year award at the end of March by her fellow teachers and the RHHS administration.
She has been teaching English and coaching at the school since 2007 and said winning Teacher of the Year has been “the most special point” of her career.
“Winning Teacher of the Year really means a lot to me because it means I’m not just a coach who teaches. I’m a teacher who coaches, and for my peers to recognize that is so rewarding,” she said.
Bennett has also been on a winning streak outside the classroom. As head of the girls basketball program, she’s been racking up victories on the court as well.
With a 2-AAAA region championship under her belt and one of the best seasons in the program’s history, Bennett was a shoo-in for the region’s Coach of the Year.
“We worked really hard, and we’ve made a name for ourselves this year,” explained Bennett, who said she’s been playing basketball for as long as she can remember. “Being named Coach of the Year reflects the work that everyone involved with the team has put in.”
Her exceptional season also netted her the Savannah Morning News Coach of the Year award, an award she also won in 2009.
Bennett said she’s thrilled to be recognized for her coaching abilities, but she also stressed that the team and her staff deserve equal credit.
“Everyone involved with the team put us in a position to play well this year,” she said. “These awards are special to me, but it should really be called ‘Staff of the Year’ award, not just coach.”
Bennett attributes much of her success in the classroom and on the court to the support she’s received from the RHHS community.
“I have great students, great parents and a great administration — everything a teacher or a coach could ask for,” she said.
She’s also received support from her husband and fellow RHHS teacher, Stacey Bennett, who coaches baseball at the school. Both are very active in the athletic department and can often be seen attending weekend sporting events with their nearly 2-year-old son, Brody.
“Our family loves sports,” she said. “My son’s first word was ‘ball.’ It’s what we do.”