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2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year finalists announced

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, 404-463-4246,

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April 15, 2019 – State School Superintendent Richard Woods today announced the 10 finalists for 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year.


The finalists were chosen from a pool of applicants all previously selected as their school district’s Teacher of the Year. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.


“The ten 2020 finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year are an exceptional group of educators and I’m proud to call them my colleagues,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Each one of them exemplifies what a teacher should be – caring, skilled, knowledgeable and intellectually curious, and first and foremost, laser-focused on the well-being, potential and success of their students.”


Finalists will meet with a panel of judges for a formal interview and give speeches during a finalist luncheon today. The winner will be announced Saturday, May 18, 2019.


The 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession in Georgia. He or she will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.


The 2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Allison Townsend, a third-grade teacher at Barnwell Elementary School.


Click here to learn more about the Georgia Teacher of the Year program.


Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists*

Kristen Applebee, Georgia Academy for the Blind, State Schools


Amy Arnold, Colham Ferry Elementary School, Oconee County Schools


Dr. David Bishop Collins, Fernbank Science Center, DeKalb County Schools


Carlos Hernandez, General Ray Davis Middle School, Rockdale County Schools


Lewis Kelly, Newton High School, Newton County Schools


Tracey Nance Pendley, Burgess Peterson Academy, Atlanta Public Schools


Stephanie Peterson, Westside Elementary School, Lowndes County Schools


Kiana Pinckney, Palmetto Elementary School, Fulton County Schools


Teresa Thompson, South Tattnall Middle School, Tattnall County Schools


Francisco “Frank” Zamora, Johnson High School, Hall County Schools


*Recipients are listed in alphabetical order by last name.