Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year Named

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, (404) 651-7358,    - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook     View video of the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year announcement.         May 14, 2010  -- Pam Williams, an Economics teacher from Appling County High School, has been named the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year.   Ms. Williams was named the winner of the award at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet at the Georgia Aquarium. She will spend the 2010-2011 school year serving as an advocate for public education and the teaching profession in Georgia.   "I know that Pam is going to be a great spokesperson for teachers in Georgia," said State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.   Ms. Williams received her undergraduate degree from Brewton Parker College, and her master’s and specialist degrees from Georgia Southern University. She began her teaching career at Bacon County Middle in 1991 and moved to Appling County in 1992. She taught sixth grade for two years and then taught Language Arts, Reading and Georgia Studies at Appling County Middle for 13 years. She came to the high school three years ago where she teaches Economics and American Government.   In her application, she described her philosophy of teaching as being focused on respect and responsibility. She stressed the importance of two-way communication between her and her students because she sees the teaching profession as second only to parenting.   "Many children spend more time daily with their teachers than they do with their parents," Ms. Williams wrote. "As a result, I believe teaching encompasses far more than classroom instruction."   A high school senior at her school wrote, “Ms. Williams has an amazing ability to break down difficult concepts into simple lessons for students to understand. Her enthusiasm and passion for the subject she teaches radiates throughout every word she speaks. Because of her class, I have learned more about the principles upon which our nation was founded and I have become more involved in our government. She teaches us that we have a voice, one that can be heard and can make a difference if we use it correctly.”   As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Ms. Williams will represent the Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and conducting workshops and programs for educators. She will also compete for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year.    Learn more about Pam Williams here    ABOUT THE GEORGIA TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM   There were 148 district teachers of the year that submitted applications to become the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past GTOY winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. Ten finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses ( View the "Why I Teach" Video of the Ten Finalists ).   A panel of judges that included Gwen Desselle, the 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year, and others observed each finalist in their classroom and interviewed them at their schools. The ten finalists then gave speeches at the annual Teacher of the Year luncheon, sponsored by Georgia Power.   No state funds were used for the Teacher of the Year banquet. It was paid for through private donations and ticket sales.   Several sponsors donated money and prizes for the Georgia Teacher of the Year. The title sponsor of the Georgia Teacher of the Year program is  UnitedHealthcare . Platinum sponsors included Georgia Natural Gas, AirTran Airways, and SMART Technologies. Other sponsors included Blue Bell Creameries, The Coca Cola Company, Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Power, Professional Association of Georgia Educators, Keith Plaques, Apple, Inc.,The School Box, Inc. and Chick-fil-A.   2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)  Teacher, School, System, Subject   - Pam Williams, Appling County High School, Appling County, Social Studies  - Lori Bone, County Line Elementary School, Barrow County, Special Education  - Henry Rentz, Cass Middle School, Bartow County, Language Arts  - Kelly Burke, Woodstock High School, Cherokee County, Science  - Steven Greer, Dodge County High School, Dodge County, JROTC  - Deborah Stringfellow, Alton C. Crews Middle School, Gwinnett County, Science  - Coni Grebel, Lee County High School, Lee County, Language Arts  - Kathy Neal, Thomson High School, McDuffie County, Science  - Bettina Polite Tate, Sol C. Johnson High, Savannah-Chatham County, Marketing & Business  - Laura Gerlach, Sumter County Elementary Math, Science & Technology Academy, Sumter County, 3rd grade