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2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

 MEDIA CONTACT:  Susan Ely, Recognitions Manager, (404) 656-5594,  - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook   February 22, 2010 -- State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced the finalists for 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year today.   The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 148 applicants that were selected as the Teacher of the Year in their school districts. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.   "I am confident that any of these ten outstanding educators would make a terrific 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year," said Superintendent Cox. "Congratulations to the finalists and to all those who applied for consideration. I know it was very difficult to choose just 10 finalists from this strong group of applications."   Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists at their schools. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power on March 26. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year Banquet on May 14, 2010, at the Georgia Aquarium. The banquet, paid for through donations from sponsors, will honor each local district Teacher of the Year. A reception hosted by UnitedHealthcare will be held prior to the banquet.   The 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year will spend next school year traveling around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. All finalists will serve on Superintendent Cox's Teacher Advisory Council next school year.   The 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Gwen Desselle, of Moultrie, a teacher at Colquitt County High School. To learn about Mrs. Desselle and the Teacher of the Year program, click here:  GA Teacher of the Year   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 Johnson High, Savannah-Chatham County, Marketing  - Laura Gerlach, Sumter County Elementary Math, Science and Technology Academy, Sumter County, 3rd grade    The Georgia Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.