Athens Academy Faculty Recognized for 25 Years of Service

Monday, October 18th, 2021

Eight members of the Athens Academy faculty have been recognized by the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) for their outstanding work in independent schools. Debbie Burnett, Beth Farmer, Casey Kane, Bob Sears, Lorraine Thompson, Trish Tillman, Geoffrey Walton, and Alan Weiler each received the Distinguished Service Award for having dedicated 25 years of service to independent education during Athens Academy’s professional development meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

The positions held by these eight faculty:

  • Debbie Burnett, Lower School Music Teacher

  • Beth Farmer, Upper School Dean of Students

  • Casey Kane, Physical Education Teacher and Varsity Baseball Coach

  • Bob Sears, Director of Student Services

  • Lorraine Thompson, Drama Department Chair

  • Trish Tillman, Sixth Grade Language Arts Teacher

  • Geoffrey Walton, Director of Admission and Varsity Cross Country Coach

  • Alan Weiler, Director of Finance and Operations

    Five of this year’s award winners—Beth Farmer, Casey Kane, Lorraine Thompson, Trish Tillman, and Geoffrey Walton—have served all 25 of their years at Athens Academy.

    Each year since 1985, GISA has recognized teachers and staff members who have served a total of 25 years or more in independent schools with the Distinguished Service Award. The association, which currently includes more than 150 schools throughout Georgia, has presented more than 2,100 of these awards to date. Over the last 36 years, 57 Athens Academy faculty and staff members have earned this recognition, and we are pleased to announce that this year’s group of eight recipients is among the largest in school history, bringing the total to 65.

    Of these 65 Distinguished Service Award recipients, 29 (45%) are current faculty and staff members. “This fact not only demonstrates the dedication and depth of experience of Athens Academy’s faculty and staff,” says Director of Academic Affairs Pat Cuneo, “but it also shows how closely connected so many of today’s current teachers and staff members are to the early years of the school. These veteran independent school teachers and staff members continue influence our community in positive and lasting ways.”

    Athens Academy is an independent, co-educational school for students in K3 through 12th grade, located on a beautiful 152-acre campus in Northeast Georgia. Now in its 55th year, Athens Academy pursues its mission of “excellence with honor” through academics, athletics, fine arts, and service and

leadership. Ranked the #1 private school in Athens, #9 private school in the state of Georgia, and #1 private school outside Metro Atlanta (

For more information, please contact Kelley Cuneo, communications director, at or 706-433-2410.