Finalists for teacher of the year: Anyone you know?

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced today the finalists for 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

According to the DOE:

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 148 applicants who were selected as the Teacher of the Year in their school districts. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.

“I am confident that any of these 10 outstanding educators would make a terrific 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year,” said Superintendent Cox. “Congratulations to the finalists and to all those who applied for consideration. I know it was very difficult to choose just 10 finalists from this strong group of applications.”

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists at their schools. The finalists will also give a speech on March 26. The winner will be announced May 14.

The 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year will spend next school year traveling around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. All finalists will serve on Superintendent Cox’s Teacher Advisory Council next school year.

The 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Gwen Desselle, of Moultrie, a teacher at Colquitt County High School.

2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district) teacher, school, system, subject

- Pam Williams, Appling County High School, Appling County, Social Studies
- Lori Bone, County Line Elementary School, Barrow County, Special Education
- Henry Rentz, Cass Middle School, Bartow County, Language Arts
- Kelly Burke, Woodstock High School, Cherokee County, Science
- Steven Greer, Dodge County High School, Dodge County, JROTC
- Deborah Stringfellow, Alton C. Crews Middle School, Gwinnett County, Science
- Coni Grebel, Lee County High School, Lee County, Language Arts
- Kathy Neal, Thomson High School, McDuffie County, Science
- Bettina Polite Tate, Sol Johnson High, Savannah-Chatham County, Marketing & Business
- Laura Gerlach, Sumter County Elementary Math, Science & Technology Academy, Sumter County, 3rd grade

15 comments Add your comment

Wounded Warrior

February 22nd, 2010
3:22 pm

Mr. Hayes, Dutchtown Elementary, Henry county, 3d grade.


February 22nd, 2010
5:10 pm

What, no Fulton?


February 22nd, 2010
5:18 pm

James Glenn, Norcross High School.


February 22nd, 2010
5:20 pm

What about the ONE City of Atlanta that did not cheat on the CRCT exams…..Since most of the others cheated…she should win!


February 22nd, 2010
5:47 pm

So the State Superintendent is going to take the very best teacher the whole state has to offer, and pull her *out* of class for a whole year? Is this bizarro world planning?


February 22nd, 2010
6:40 pm

You know…the process is pretty flawed. The nominated teachers have to spend a lot of time producing essays, etc. about their strategies and activities,and other things. THe process is so, so time consuming that many of the very best teachers just don’t feel they should take the time away from their lesson planning and , yes, even their families to produce the paperwork necessary to proceed and even make the finalists. As a long..long time teacher, it has been my experience that the really , really precious teachers just don’t bother. God bless them…they are the real heroes.


February 22nd, 2010
8:44 pm

Congratulations to these ten outstanding teachers.

Professional Blogger

February 22nd, 2010
9:06 pm

Alexander Haig posthumously. Did I spell that correctly? Or, give it to Rod Johnson who used to be on the Clayton County Board of Education before he and Ericka Davis sold out their community to King Mark Elgart who sits atop Mt. Alpharetta. By the way, has SACS even noticed that there sure is a lot of “irregularities” going on in the Atlanta Public Schools and in the DeKalb County School System? Is it OK with SACS if cheating goes on at a rampant pace? Is is OK with SACS if a school system bid-rigs the construction contracts? Is it OK with SACS for a superintendent like Crawford Lewis to get just two miles per gallon with county-paid gasoline. GasolineGate, baby! Is this permissable with the almighty fake SACS Standards?

Is SACS relevant anymore or just used for political hi-jenks and vendettas? Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Mark Elgart, I bet your little Yankee b_tt that you wish that you had never heard of Clayton County. That Eldrin Bell and Ericka Davis got you in a real mess, didn’t they? You and ole Glenn Brock thought that y’all knew how to deal in the ole Wild West, didn’t you? Want a pickle on it?

Ole Guy

February 23rd, 2010
12:18 am

That and a buck’ll get you a cup of coffee. I do not mean to trample on that which many may hold in high professional esteem, however, this reminds me of the manner in which too many decorations are handed to the troops in the feint hope that this will somehow raise morale while erasing command boo boos.


February 23rd, 2010
6:50 am

Good for them–congratulations. I notice none are from anywhere near when I live, however (with the majority from South Georgia), and with only 3 representing elementary schools. Is this true every year?

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Jeff Martin

February 24th, 2010
1:43 pm

I believe Steven Greer from Dodge is also the wrestling coach there. I know he coaches the little kids program for sure. I wish him luck!

Cary Mathis

March 24th, 2010
9:15 pm

To Jabberwocky — That sounds rather demeaning to these who have excelled. I mean, it’s not like they nominated themselves! These candidates were chosen by their peers, and regardless of the time the process might take, they wouldn’t be in this position if they weren’t good teachers. To respond to this articles with “the process is pretty flawed” certainly makes sit sound as if you begrudge these finalists their position. I, too, teach, but I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t feel honored to be in this position.


March 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

mrs. grebel lee county high school, went to high school there didn’t have her but always heard great things about her hope she wins


April 29th, 2010
4:33 pm

My sister and I both were honored to have Mrs. Kelly Burke at Woodstock High School for Honors and AP Physics. She is an amazing teacher. She is one the reasons I have entered the teaching profession myself! Her passion and dedication to her students is something that I am trying to model in my own classroom. Good luck to all the finalist!