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Riverside Elementary teacher honored for decades of work

SUWANEE — Marion Sebastian first heard about the Future Problem Solving Program International while attending a conference.

Thirty years later, the Riverside Elementary School teacher has been honored by the organization.

Future Problem Solving Program International, which promotes creative problem solving events and activities for students, recently presented the Gwinnett County Public Schools veteran educator with its John Daughtrey Memorial Award.

Annually, the organization holds global events stimulating critical and creative thinking skills among students. The organization aspires to inspire students to be able to solve the real world problems of the future. Sebastian was honored for the many roles she has performed with the program and her commitment to her students.

“I have been enthusiastically involved ever since (1980) and have coached students to qualify for the state bowl every year,” Sebastian said “I also feel very humble that people from many different areas with whom I work were so considerate in nominating me and that I was selected from the many dedicated volunteers from around the world.”

Her principal, Craig Barlow, is among those who nominated her. He credits Sebastian for the school’s students’ high performance in FPSPI events.

“She is a strong supporter of the program and demonstrates her commitment through her work at the local, state and international level,” he said. “Marion also has volunteered her time to work with our school’s Future Problem Solvers Club. Since our school opened 10 years ago, she has been the driving force behind our school’s efforts. Under her leadership, our students have won local, state and international recognitions.”

Sebastian joined Gwinnett County Public Schools in 1977 as a fifth-grade teacher at Peachtree Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Henderson State University in Arkansas and both a master’s degree and a specialist’s degree in elementary education from Georgia State University.

A former National Association for Gifted Children Educator of the Year, she teaches second- and fifth-grade gifted classes at Riverside Elementary. Sebastian also has been recognized as the Gwinnett County Elementary Teacher of the Year and the Georgia Elementary Science Teacher of the Year.