Ms. Katie Urbanovitch, the fashion marketing and promotions marketing teacher, is forging the path for South Forsyth High School students to grow into creative, responsible, and productive leaders.
She received the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year not only because of her caring nature, but also because of her fiery spirit, strong passion, and willing commitment. She has inspired countless students over the past 11 years to follow their dreams and become better individuals.
During her time at South, Ms. Urbanovitch has taught several types of marketing classes as well as in the teaching as a profession pathway. Prior to her teaching journey at this school, Ms. Urbanovitch joined The Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) in high school, she found her love for marketing. She then attended the University of Georgia (UGA) with a major in advertising and public relations. She said that she would have pursued a marketing major, but it was too much math for her. As she switched her major, she had the opportunity to work with individuals in the freshman dorms. She discovered her passion for teaching while working with these freshmen. At one point, she wanted to open a preschool to fulfill her passion for teaching while also marveling at business and entrepreneurship.
Urbanovitch elaborated, “I started taking marketing classes, and I just fell in love with them. I realized that I was good at it and I really enjoyed it.” After realizing this, she decided she wanted to be a marketing teacher.
Ms. Urbanovitch believes in her students and is devoted to helping each of them succeed. In her first year teaching at South, she saw her 9th grade sister’s hectic day-to-day life up close, which gave her valuable insight into the lives of “typical high schoolers”.
“[My sister] was in the theater, so she would go to school early, and she’d be at South until eight or nine at night working on her plays,” expressed Ms. Urbanovitch. “Then she’d come home and do homework until Lord knows how long -like midnight or later- and be cranky in the morning because she hardly got any sleep. And so seeing that that’s what a typical high schooler goes through, really put everything in perspective for me.”
Now, Ms. Urbanovitch abides by the fact that “students need to be given grace” because they already have so much going on. She believes that a strict teaching method isn’t the way to go and works hard to make her classroom a safe space that promotes learning in an exciting, fun way. Ms. Urbanovitch is the perfect example of what teachers aspire to be: welcoming, warm, and caring in the very best ways.
Milli Gandotra, a senior who was one of Ms. Urbanovitch’s students, notes, “I think Ms. Urbanovitch is really good at catering to each student’s needs. Everyone is different and everyone moves forward at a different pace.”
Gandotra recounts one of her favorite memories from Ms. Urbanovitch’s class, commenting on how she would take out time from her class to listen to her students’ weekly highs and lows.
“She would listen attentively and have conversations with the class,” said Gandotra. “It felt personal and as if she genuinely cared about our lives outside the classroom.”
Furthermore, Ms. Urbanovitch’s class has helped her grow into a much better student by getting her out of her comfort zone. Similarly, numerous students have been able to blossom into better versions of themselves under the care and dedication of Ms. Urbanovitch.
In her teaching career, Ms. Urbanovitch has motivated students on their marketing journeys and helped those around her grow into who they are today. She received the teacher of the year award because of her dedication to her colleagues, students, and ultimately, her passion for making a difference in young lives.