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2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358, or Keisha Ford-Jenrette, GaDOE Recognitions Office, (404) 657-2949,

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March 11, 2013 -- State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge today announced the finalists for 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 155 applicants who 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 congratulate our ten Georgia Teacher of the Year finalists and those who applied,” said Superintendent Barge. “As usual, we had a very impressive group of teachers make the top ten."

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct video observations and interview each of the finalists. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power in April. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet on May 3, 2013, at the Georgia International Convention Center. The banquet, paid for through donations from sponsors, will honor each local district Teacher of the Year. A reception hosted by United Healthcare will be held prior to the banquet.

The 2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel 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.

The 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Ms. Lauren Eckman, a teacher of the blind and visually impaired at the Georgia Academy for the Blind.

To learn more about Ms. Eckman and the Teacher of the Year program, click on the following link:

2014 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists
(in alphabetical order by district)
Teacher, Subject, System, School


Tamika N. Ball, Mathematics
Atlanta Public Schools, D.M. Therrell School of Health Sciences and Research

Brandon A. Mitchell,  Physical and Environmental Science
Barrow County, Winder-Barrow High

Jemelleh Coes, English Language Arts  and Reading
Bulloch County, Langston Chapel Middle

Terrie L. Ponder, Social Studies
Carrollton City, Carrollton Junior High

Jeanine Wetherington, Gifted K-5
Colquitt County, Norman Park Elementary

Shannon Pollitz, Eighth Grade Gifted English Language Arts
Floyd County, Pepperell Middle

Barbara Rosolino, English Language Arts, AP Literature and Composition
Henry County, Eagle’s Landing High

David DuBose, Advanced Music, Band and Instrumental Music
Marietta City, Marietta High

Dr. Polly S. Holder, Spanish
Walton County, Walnut Grove High

Tanya Smith, Physical Science and Gifted/Accelerated Chemistry
Wayne County, Wayne County High

The Georgia Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by United Healthcare.