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Expect new faces at the county spelling bee today

LAWRENCEVILLE - With a new coordinator, announcer and two new judges, today's Gwinnett County spelling bee will have few familiar faces.

But bee coordinator Carey McDurmon said he still expects the countywide spelling competition to be a success.

This morning, 76 spellers will compete for a chance to call themselves the best in Gwinnett. Twelve will advance to the districtwide spelling bee next month.

Those 12 competitors will compete in a practice oral bee beginning about 10:30 a.m. at Central Gwinnett High School.

Although WSB radio personality Scott Slade had called the bee for a number of years, McDurmon, who is an assistant principal at Corley Elementary School, said he asked that school's literacy coach to announce the words for the bee this year.

Leslie Sniff has been practicing how to pronounce the list of words since winter break, McDurmon said.

Judges for the bee, which is sponsored by the Gwinnett Daily Post, include editor Todd Cline, Duncan Creek Elementary School reading specialist Melanie Mount and Lisa Davis, a technology coordinator at Patrick Elementary School.

"A lot of people don't understand the work that goes on behind the scenes at the spelling bee," McDurmon said. "I've enjoyed it thus far."