"There's no greater honor for an educator than to be recognized by fellow educators and administration for something we just do naturally every day," Rhodes said.
Rhodes, who is in her 28th year of teaching and her 16th at CES, said she became interested in education and children at a young age after working as a babysitter. She is currently a Title I teacher.
"I enjoyed teaching [children] to do things, and it just seemed a natural progression for me when it came time to choose a profession I wanted to follow to go into teaching," Rhodes said.
Rhodes received $1,200 to be used toward any academic conference in the upcoming school year
Teachers of the Year are Margaret Zimmer of Cartersville Primary School, Kathy Hays of Cartersville Middle School and Valerie Webb of Cartersville High School.
Cartersville Mayor Matt Santini said he recently celebrated his 25th high school reunion and reminisced with classmates over their teachers' effect on their lives.
"Twenty-five years later and we're still speaking glowingly about the positive impact that our teachers had in our lives," Santini said, "so I congratulate you on the honor today, but never forget how important and how impactful you are on the lives of every student you teach."
School board president Linda Benton during the recognition luncheon thanked teachers for their constant service and each principal spoke on behalf of their schools' Teacher of the Year.
"Thank you for what you do every day," Benton said. "Thank you for being out in the trenches, being on the firing lines. I hear people say all the time, 'I don't see how they do it,' and I'm one of those [people]. I don't see how you do it, but I thank you."
Superintendent Howard Hinesley said the systemwide Teacher of the Year is decided through a complex selection process conducted by Kennesaw State University professionals.
"Ms. Rhodes takes care of her program with Title I [distinction], which means she is an excellent teacher and was asked to be kept on this new roll [of Title I teachers]," Hinesley said. "In addition to [maintaining her program] on a day-to-day basis in the classroom and working with all types of students, those kids who were really struggling and were needing help in the afternoon, I can tell you, the results showed. ... [her program] worked, and I'm really proud of [Rhodes]."
Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse gave honorable mention to sponsor Renasant Bank in Cartersville.