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Meet Forsyth County Schools’ 7 Teacher of the Year finalists for 2022
Teacher of the Year
Forsyth County Schools announced seven finalists for the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award Thursday, Feb. 18.

Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden traveled to schools across the county Friday morning, surprising each of the district’s seven Teacher of the Year finalists with a gift and small celebration.

Each of the finalists was chosen among Teachers of the Year at each school in the district. These teachers were selected in September after undergoing a written and classroom video observation.

Now that the seven finalists have been announced, they will go before a committee comprised of community leaders and educators later this month for interviews.

The overall winner of the 2022 Teacher of the Year title will be announced at FCS’ annual Celebration of Excellence event on Thursday, March 10, at 11:30 a.m. at the Forsyth Conference Center located at 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Cumming.

Last year’s event was made virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year, the district is inviting guests back to celebrate the district Teacher of the Year in person.

For more information, visit www.fcschoolscelebration.com.

The 2022 Teacher of the Year Finalists

A brief look at the seven teachers in Forsyth County Schools selected as finalists for the school system's 2022 Teacher of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the school system’s “Celebration of Excellence” event on Thursday, March 10, at 11:30 a.m.


Susan Bennett

Susan Bennett.jpg
Susan Bennett is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: Cumming Elementary

Subject: English to Speakers of Other Languages, or ESOL

College: Bachelor’s from the University of North Georgia

Years teaching: 25 years total

Patti Phillips

Patti Phillips.jpg
Patti Phillips is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: Mashburn Elementary

Subject: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

College: Bachelor’s from the University of West Georgia and master’s from Mercer University

Years teaching: 4 years in FCS

Bethany McClurkan

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Bethany McClurkan is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: Poole’s Mill Elementary School

Subject: 2nd grade

College: Bachelor’s from Samford University and master’s and specialist’s degrees from Piedmont College

Years teaching: 10 years at FCS

Catherine Swartz

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Catherine Swartz is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: South Forsyth Middle School

Subject: English Language Arts

College: Bachelor’s from Columbus State University and master’s from Georgia State University

Years teaching: 4 years in FCS

Michael Cheek

Michael Cheek.jpg
Michael Cheek is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: Vickery Creek Middle School

Subject: Math

College: Bachelor’s from North Georgia College and master’s from Valdosta State University

Years teaching: 13 years in FCS

Paul Mallalieu

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Paul Mallalieu is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: Forsyth Central High School

Subject: Math and social studies

College: Bachelor’s from Toccoa Falls College and master’s from Georgia Southern University

Years teaching: 13 years overall; 4 in FCS

Katie Urbanovitch

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Katie Urbanovitch is one of seven finalists for the 2022 Teacher of the Year award. Photo courtesy Forsyth County Schools.

School: South Forsyth High School

Subject: Marketing

College:  Bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Georgia

Years teaching: 11 years in FCS