2015-2016 Teachers of the Year

Commerce Primary Teacher of the Year-  Mrs. Stacy Peters


Mrs. Peters has taught second grade at Commerce Primary since 2011.  In 2009, she completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education at Auburn University.  In 2011, she completed her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbus State University.  Mrs. Peters has also completed her ESOL endorsement and gifted endorsement through RESA.  

Mrs. Peters serves on a variety of committees at Commerce Primary.  She has been nominated for Teacher of the Year in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Most recently, in 2014-2015, 95% of the students in Mrs. Peters’ class met their High Growth Target and 5% met their Expected Growth Target.

Mrs. Peters is married to Will Peters, and they are expecting their first child in December.


Commerce Elementary Teacher of the Year-  Mrs. Dianne Cotrell

Mrs. Dianne Cotrell has 42 years of teaching experience.  Currently, Mrs. Cotrell is teaching 4th grade at CES.  Mrs. Cotrell earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from West Georgia College.  She completed her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Georgia.  Mrs. Cotrell has not only taught second, third, and fourth grades, but she has also taught remedial reading, art, music, and the summer school program to remediate third and fourth grade students in reading and math.  

Mrs. Cotrell has served on a variety of committees during her tenure.  In addition to teaching, Mrs. Cotrell spent twenty years as the spirit and competitive cheerleading coach at the high school and middle school levels.  Some of her coaching successes include 14 consecutive years as the 8A Region Competitive Cheerleading Champions; 14 years as the 8A Competitive Cheerleading Coach of the Year; and 7 State Championships in 8A High School Competitive Cheerleading.

Mrs. Cotrell is married to Steve Cotrell, and they have two children, Stevie and Stephanie.


Commerce Middle Teacher of the Year & Commerce City Schools Teacher of the Year-  Mr. Adam Shirley


Mr. Shirley teaches eighth grade science at CMS.  In 2005, Mr. Shirley earned his Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from The University of Georgia.  In 2017, Mr. Shirley will complete his Master’s Degree in Education from Piedmont College.  Mr. Shirley began his teaching career in 2012 at W.R. Coile Middle School in Clarke County.  

From 2007-2009, Mr. Shirley planned and implemented lessons while leading collaborative instruction in English oral communications for 300 Japanese students at the elementary and high school levels in Japan.  During the summers of 2014 and 2015, Mr. Shirley served as a Fellow for the Georgia Intern Fellowship for Teachers at the Center for Applied Genomic Technology through the University of Georgia.

Mr. Shirley serves on numerous committees at Commerce Middle School.  Mr. Shirley continues to be an asset to the teaching team at Commerce Middle School.


Commerce High Teacher of the Year- Mrs. Dana Ward


Mrs. Ward teaches Spanish at Commerce High School.  In 1993, Mrs. Ward earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Spanish Education from the University of Georgia.  In 1998, Mrs. Ward completed her Master’s Degree in Spanish Education from Piedmont College.  In 2012, Mrs. Ward earned her Specialist Degree in Teacher Leadership from Piedmont College.  Mrs. Ward has been the Spanish teacher at Commerce High School since 1993.

Mrs. Ward also has many responsibilities beyond teaching Spanish at CHS.  She serves on the CHS Leadership Team. She is the School Improvement Coordinator for CHS to coordinate all committee work for AdvancED/SACS.  
Mrs. Ward has served as the chair of the Junior Class for 17 years.  Other experiences include teaching chorus at CHS for six years; literary coach for six years; Homecoming Committee Chair for eight years; and Prom Committee Chair for sixteen years.

Mrs. Ward’s SLO results in 2014-2015 included 83% of Spanish I students achieved High or Expected Growth ranges.  Mrs. Ward is married to Bob, and they have one son, Mason.