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Forsyth County Teacher of the Year semifinalists named

Forsyth County Schools’ 2016-17 Teacher of the Year semifinalists

• Big Creek Elementary: Amy Petrella
• Chattahoochee Elementary: Rebecca Gerstenlauer
• Chestatee Elementary: Carrie Gromw
• Coal Mountain Elementary: April Lowe
• DeSana Middle: Erin Wood
• Forsyth Central High: Michele Dugan
• Haw Creek Elementary: Helen Kumpel
• Johns Creek Elementary: Maria Pritchett
• Kelly Mill Elementary: Melissa Goldsberry
• Midway Elementary: Libby Romig
• North Forsyth High: Amanda Swafford
• North Forsyth Middle: Maleah Stewart
• Piney Grove Middle: Cindy Carroll
• Shiloh Point Elementary: Maggie Tompkins
• South Forsyth Middle: Linda Ebert
• Vickery Creek Middle: Greg Whitt
• West Forsyth High: Shelly Williams
• Whitlow Elementary: Bryna Samples

After naming the top teacher in each Forsyth County school earlier this year, the district has narrowed the field to 18 semifinalists for the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year.

These top teachers — 35 schools named their own to begin the process — represent those who are not just employees. They represent those who go beyond teaching to a test or watching over children for a day.

They make a lasting impact on their students’ lives and instill the foundations they will carry on to college, careers and family.

“The Teacher of the Year from each school filled out an application and answered essay questions … that were read by a committee,” said Hannah Samples, a spokeswoman for the school district.

K-12 classroom teachers are eligible to be nominated, including special education, physical education, ITS, art and music teachers and media specialists.

Counselors are not eligible but are recognized as part of the separate Counselor of the Year program.

The semifinalist level took each school-level Teacher of the Year and narrowed them down to 10 elementary, five middle and three high school teachers.

These 18 will be interviewed in January and will receive a surprise visit in February if they are one of three finalists — one at each school level.

On Friday, March 10, the district-wide Teacher of the Year will be announced at the annual Forsyth County Schools Celebration of Excellence.

The winner will represent Forsyth County in the Georgia Teacher of the year program, a competition that ultimately sends one state representative to the national level.

Last year, Andrew Poor, band teacher for South Forsyth Middle School, was honored at the district level.

Two years ago, Marlo Miranda, automotive technology teacher at Forsyth Central High School, was named a finalist for the state-wide recognition.

The program has been in Forsyth County consistently since 1990, through Cumming Elementary’s Edith Wright was given the inaugural honor in 1976.