A Forsyth County first-grade teacher is in the running for the 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year award.
Suzy Besson-Martilotta, who teaches at Chattahoochee Elementary School, said she was surprised to be on the list of 10 finalists the state released Monday.
"There are so many great teachers in the state of Georgia and there are so many great teachers in Forsyth County that I was absolutely shocked," she said.
Besson-Martilotta, who was named the Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year for 2008, said the nomination is an honor, but her students still are her primary concern.
"I worry more about them than anything about myself," she said. "I worry about the kids and what the kids are learning. It's a big honor, but it's just me representing a great system. That's really what it is."
The winner will be announced May 15 at the Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet at the Georgia Aquarium.
State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said in a statement that the finalists were chosen from 147 nominees selected as Teachers of the Year in their respective school systems.
Judges included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year honorees and finalists, administrators and community leaders.
"I am confident that any of these 10 outstanding educators would make a terrific 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year," Cox said.
"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."
A panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists at their schools over the next several weeks, the statement said. Each finalist then will give a speech at a March 23 luncheon.
The winner will spend the next school year traveling around the state and the nation as an ambassador for teaching. The 2010 award recipient also will be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.