First there were 31, then there were five and finally, three finalists for Columbia County’s Teacher of the Year.
Thirty-one teachers of the year from Columbia County elementary, middle and high schools were recognized at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.
“We are lucky to have you as educators here, and thank you for all that you do,” vice-chairman for Columbia County board of education Mike Sleeper told the group.
Following recognition of all the honorees, Columbia County Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway named the five finalists for the district’s Teacher of the Year.
They were: Tammy Harold from Riverside Elementary, Andrea Short from Westmont Elementary, Lorena Smith from Grovetown Middle, Courtney Owen from River Ridge Elementary and Suzanne Horne from Harlem High. The five were selected by three judges outside the school district using the same criteria used for the state Teacher of the Year.
However, because Horne will take on the role of assistant principal at Grovetown High and Smith will be an instruction specialist at Columbia Middle, they will be ineligible to for the overall Teacher of the Year award.
The three remaining finalists – Harold, Short and Owen – will be observed in their classrooms Sept. 7 by the judges The new Teacher of the Year will be named Oct. 5 at a banquet and receive a BMW from Taylor BMW to use for one year.
“Congrats to all the finalists and all those who are here. I have been personally following the Teacher of the Year for the past 10 years and it’s quite an event,” board member David Alalof said.
And while the night’s focus was on the winners from the schools and Teacher of the Year finalists, board member Lee Ann Meyer took the opportunity to recognize other teachers.
“Please take our heartfelt thanks back to all the other teachers at your schools,” she said. “Without y’all we would not be able to educate 27,000 students every day.”