HOSCHTON - Mill Creek High School media specialist Julie Hatcher is considered to be a leader in her school, in the county and in the state.
That's one of the reasons why Gwinnett County Public Schools honored her Thursday as the school system's Media Specialist of the Year.
The surprise announcement was made in Mill Creek's media center. Hatcher was presented with a plaque, balloons and a cake.
"I'm excited. I'm shocked," said Hatcher, who has worked at Mill Creek since the school opened in 2004. "I've been nominated before, and I didn't win."
But Mary K. Donovan, a media specialist at Mill Creek High who nominated Hatcher for the award, said she wasn't surprised her co-worker won. Although this is the first year the two have worked in the same school, Donovan said she's worked with Hatcher on several county committees and is familiar with her leadership abilities.
"In a school of 4,000 students and 300 teachers, it's phenomenal how eager she is to help," Donovan said.
Hatcher said she enjoys her job because she gets to work with all of the students and teachers.
"We have really good kids," she said, adding that she also enjoys young adult literature.
Faye Curlee, the school system's director of media services and technical training, said it's important to recognize the media programs because of "how the media center supports instruction and how (media specialists) work with teachers to help student achievement."
This is the fourth year that Gwinnett County Public Schools has chosen a top media specialist.
Hatcher will go on to compete in a regional competition, Curlee said.