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Holly Witcher, of White County, is the 2025 Georgia Teacher of the Year

Click here for high-resolution photos of the 2025 Georgia Teacher of the Year.


Click here for high-resolution photos of the 2025 Georgia Teacher of the Year Runner-Up.


MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office,

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May 31, 2024 – Holly Witcher, a special education teacher at Tesnatee Gap Elementary School in White County, is the 2025 Georgia Teacher of the Year. State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced the selection at a banquet held tonight in LaGrange to celebrate all district teachers of the year.


“Holly Witcher is a shining example of our mission of preparing all students for life,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “I am inspired by the way she equips her students to live positive, productive lives and helps them connect to their community. I know she will be a phenomenal advocate for public education over the next year, just as she has been for her students in White County. Congratulations, Holly, and thank you for your service to the students of our state!”


Witcher works to connect her students to the community as a way to build adaptive skills, through monthly community-based instruction outing for students. Based on needs identified by students’ families, Witcher and other self-contained special education teachers in White County Schools partner with local businesses to introduce students to different environments in the community – from the local grocery store to the high school’s teaching salon.  


She also focuses on providing a language-rich classroom and building her students’ ability to communicate effectively.


“Working with students who have been diagnosed with significant developmental delays, my primary challenge is to teach them how to communicate,”Witcher wrote in her Georgia Teacher of the Year application. “Everything I do in the classroom revolves around helping them show what they know and teaching them how they can express what they know and what they need.”


Witcher is a 23-year teaching veteran and was named Teacher of the Year for her school in Rockdale County in 2006, along with White County District Teacher of the Year in 2023. In addition to teaching in traditional public schools, Witcher taught online for 10 years at Georgia Cyber Academy, where she served as a lead teacher for four years and Elementary School Assistant Administrator of Special Programs for four years.


She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgia College and State University and a master’s from the American College of Education.


As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Witcher will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia, speaking to the public about the teaching profession and serving as an ex-officio member of the State Board of Education. She will also participate in the competitive selection process for the 2025 National Teacher of the Year.


Runner-Up: Alicia Reno, City Schools of Decatur

Alicia Reno teaches 3rd-5th STEM/STEAM at Talley Street Upper Elementary School in Decatur. Reno was chosen to design the curriculum and teach all 700 students the magic of STEM. She believes in giving students opportunities to work cooperatively to design thoughtful solutions to real-world problems – for example, through the “Electric House” project, her fifth-grade students design and build a house powered by electric circuits. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University and a master’s from California State University, Los Angeles.