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Forsyth schools name year's top teachers

School-level 2016-17 Teachers of the Year

• Big Creek Elementary: Amy Petrella
• Brookwood Elementary: Jane McCormick
• Chattahoochee Elementary: Rebecca Gerstenlauer
• Chestatee Elementary: Carrie Grome
• Coal Mountain Elementary: April Lowe
• Cumming Elementary: Donna Moseley
• Daves Creek Elementary: Amy Daise
• DeSana Middle: Erin Wood
• Forsyth Central High: Michele Dugan
• Haw Creek Elementary: Helen Kumpel
• Johns Creek Elementary: Maria Pritchett
• Kelly Mill Elementary: Melissa Goldsberry
• Lakeside Middle: Diane Spencer
• Lambert High: Laura King
• Liberty Middle: Sue Sciorrotta
• Little Mill Middle: Jackie Suddith
• Mashburn Elementary: Mary Jo Dunn
• Matt Elementary: Felicia Barnick
Midway Elementary: Libby Romig
• North Forsyth High: Amanda Swafford
• North Forysth Middle: Maleah Stewart
• Otwell Middle: Amie Holmes
• Piney Grove Middle: Cindy Carroll
• Riverwatch Middle: Lindsey Messina
• Sawnee Elementary: Jennifer Fagan
• Settles Bridge Elementary: Laura Lauterbach
• Sharon Elementary: Tricia Ashcraft
• Shiloh Point Elementary: Maggie Tompkins
• Silver City Elementary: Jessica Smith
• South Forsyth High: Jill McKee
• South Forsyth Middle: Linda Ebert
• Vickery Creek Elementary: Carolyn Purcell
• Vickery Creek Middle: Greg Whitt
• West Forsyth High: Shelly Williams
• Whitlow Elementary: Bryna Samples

Any teacher has the potential to make a lasting impact on a student, and one teacher in each Forsyth County school who has proven that task was recently recognized in the first step toward a national spotlight.

The school-level 2016-17 Teachers of the Year were announced, honoring those who do more than teach. They inspire, they care, they grow.

“It is a highly regarded honor that attests that they possess the respect and admiration of their students, parents and colleagues,” said Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the school district. “We wish them well as they begin the first steps of the county-level Teacher of the Year program, and we look forward to announcing our winner in March.”

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 Counselor of the Year program.

Candidates must have two or more years of experience, have a full time teaching position and “spend the majority of their time teaching students in a classroom setting. Supervisory and administrative responsibilities should be of secondary consideration.”

Some qualifications of a Forsyth County Teacher of the Year include an educator who:
• Plans to continue teaching in an active state
• Inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn
• Plays an active and useful role in the community and school
• Is poised and articulate

Semifinalists will be announced in early December, who will consist of 10 elementary, five middle and three high school teachers.

After interviews in January, surprise visits will be made to the classroom of the one finalist at each school level in February, with classroom visits scheduled shortly after.

On Friday, March 10, the 2016-2017 Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year will be announced at the district’s annual Celebration of Excellence at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center, where all school-level top teachers will also be honored.

New schools have the option to participate in the program or wait a year, Caracciolo said. DeSana Middle School chose to nominate a top teacher, while Brandywine Elementary chose to wait.

Each application is modeled after the Georgia Teacher of the Year application, for which the county-wide Teacher of the Year is considered.
Last year, Andrew Poor, band teacher at South Forsyth Middle School, was bestowed the district-level honor.

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, though Cumming Elementary’s Edith Wright was given the inaugural honor in 1976.