Deerwood Academy Teacher Honored as ‘Symetra Hero in the Classroom’

January 14, 2013 at 5:25 pm 1 comment

Symetra, SunTrust and the Atlanta Falcons recently honored Deerwood Academy teacher Rodrick Taplin as a “Symetra Hero in the Classroom” during a surprise school assembly. Coach Taplin serves as a Physical Education instructor at Deerwood. 

Taplin’s colleague, Aleah Brown, nominated him for the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom® award.

“Coach Rodrick Taplin has a genuine concern for the health and wellness of all Deerwood Academy students. He believes that physical fitness is as important to the school curriculum as any of the major core subjects — and that only when students’ physical, nutritional, social and emotional needs are intact is learning intact,” she explained. “Coach Taplin’s activities are geared to increase students’ self-awareness and self-esteem. They learn about the skills they need to build a strong character as well as those important to their nutritional and physical growth and development.”  

According to Brown, Coach Taplin has successfully harnessed multiple resources to develop his physical education program. In addition to organizing  fitness and health walks and fairs for students and community members, he has also invited various speakers to address all areas of physical fitness with students and arranged theatrical performances featuring members of outside agencies and Deerwood staff.

“He is an incredible role model for and mentor to everyone at Deerwood Academy,” she said.

Taplin is one of 16 K-12 teachers across Georgia who will be honored for educational excellence in the Symetra Heroes in the Classroom program during the 2012 NFL season. Teachers are recognized in front of their students and peers at surprise in-school presentations, and they receive a $1,000 donation for classroom books and supplies. In addition, they receive tickets to a Falcons home game and are acknowledged during an on-field presentation at the Georgia Dome. Taplin was recognized at the Dec. 30 game when the Falcons took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Teachers may be nominated by their principal, district staff, student or student’s parent. The winners are selected based on their ability to make a real difference in students’ lives; to go above and beyond in their day-to-day responsibilities; and to help students build life skills.

More information about Symetra Heroes in the Classroom is available at

Entry filed under: Deerwood Academy, Heroes in the Classroom. Tags: , , , .

Student Spotlight of the Week LIVE BLOG: January 14, 2013 Board of Education Meeting

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