The Georgia Teacher of the Year (GaTOTY) program strives to promote and retain quality teachers. The GaTOTY serves as an ambassador for education, traveling the state speaking to various educators and community groups. The GaTOTY also competes in the National Teacher of the Year Program, representing Georgia at several national conferences with other State Teachers of the Year. District Teachers of the Year are provided professional development and honored at a state recognition banquet. In a surprise announcement, the GaTOTY is named from a pool of ten finalists at the state recognition banquet.
The candidate for Georgia Teacher of the Year should be:
The current local education agency (LEA) Teacher of the Year.
A certified classroom teacher (clear and renewable certificate) in public prekindergarten through grade 12, including special education, physical education, art, music, media specialists and ROTC teachers. (Counselors are not eligible.)
An exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled teacher who is planning to continue in active teaching status.
A teacher who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.
A teacher who has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues.
A teacher who plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school.
A teacher who is poised and articulate and possesses the energy to withstand a taxing schedule.
Selection Process for GaTOTY
Each local education system (LEA) nominee submits an application packet that is based on the National Teacher of the Year Program application. Ten finalists are selected by a panel of judges based on candidate responses and supporting documents submitted on the application. Finalists prepare a speech and participate in an interview process during a luncheon in the spring, where the winner will be confidentially selected by a panel of judges. The newly selected GaTOTY is announced during the Teacher of the Year recognition banquet held in May.
Duties of the Georgia Teacher of the Year
The Georgia Teacher of the Year, an educational ambassador for the Georgia Public School System, acts as a representative for all Georgia public school teachers and as an advocate for the school systems, its students, and its teachers. The GaTOTY’s numerous engagements include recognition before the Georgia House and Senate during the session of the General Assembly and participation on the Georgia State Board of Education as a non-voting member.
The GaTOTY typically takes a one-year sabbatical working directly with the Georgia Department of Education. During this time the GaTOTY speaks to various groups throughout the state. This teacher representative also conducts staff development activities for other teachers in his or her area of expertise; serves on statewide committees; and attends and participates in numerous state conferences.
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