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District names teachers of the year
Honorees vie for systemwide honor
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Forsyth County News

Nominees for the Forsyth County school system’s  Teacher of the Year include:

Elementary schools

• Big Creek: Debbie Stair, first grade
• Brookwood: Robert Meinberg, fifth grade
• Chattahoochee: Lacy Shadburn, kindergarten
• Chestatee: Tamela Stanford, EIP
• Coal Mountain: April Lowe, speech and language pathologist
• Cumming: Anna Quinones, ESOL
• Daves Creek: Jenni Bueltel, first grade
• Haw Creek: Auburn Hemsley, kindergarten
• Johns Creek: Ashlee Howington, third grade
• Mashburn: Keri Cook, fourth grade
• Matt: Robin Neal, third grade
• Midway: Cathie Gober, first grade
• Sawnee: Teresa Herring, music
• Settles Bridge: Jennifer Perkins, second grade
• Sharon: Sherrie Robbins, fourth grade
• Shiloh Point: Andrea White, EIP
• Silver City: Jill Short, first grade
• Vickery Creek: Rachael Dooley, first grade
• Whitlow: Ashley Starr, fifth grade

Middle schools

• Lakeside: Amy Atkins, seventh-grade social studies
• Liberty: Chris Cummo, eighth-grade math
• Little Mill: Vickie Bates, science
• North Forsyth: Dusty Hoyle Nealth, P.E.
• Otwell: Catherine Keyser, band
• Piney Grove: Ginger Smith, seventh-grade science
• Riverwatch: Mike Brown, eighth-grade social studies
• South Forsyth: Priscilla Pizarr-Rivera, world languages
• Vickery Creek: Jennifer Davies, P.E. and health

High schools

• Central: Linda Napolitano, ESOL
• Lambert: Woody VanTreek, language arts
• North: Gail Tillery, English
• South: Debra Moore, career tech marketing
• West: John Bush, English

Source: Forsyth County Schools

The Forsyth County school system has announced its school level Teachers of the Year.

From speech and language pathologists and world language instructors to music and physical education teachers, this year’s 33 honorees cover a wide range of fields.

Ann Crow, who chairs the local school board, called the honor special, noting “the history of the teachers that have been chosen in the past has always been impressive.”

“It’s an opportunity to showcase the best of the best, the ones that have put in that extra effort to do whatever it takes for students to be successful,” she said.

The Teacher of the Year program is overseen by Judi Jenkins, the district’s business and community relations facilitator.

Because the majority of teachers selected are chosen by peers, Jenkins said the honor holds a higher meaning.

“I don’t think anybody knows how you teach better than the people you work with,” she said. “They see you with those kids day in and day out in the class and they know what kind of work you do.

“It’s one of the most humbling awards I think you can get because your peers do select you ... it’s just a real big honor.”

A panel of seven judges must narrow the 33 teachers down to three, one each from the elementary, middle and high school levels.

The first round starts with anonymous essays each teacher writes about their experience. Next come personal interviews. Lastly, judges will observe the top nine teachers in class.

Among the judges are last year’s winner, Jenna Ward of Otwell Middle, Freda Hardage from Northside Hospital-Forsyth and Cindy Mills, representing the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce.

The top three teachers will be announced Dec. 16, about two months prior to the systemwide honoree.