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Gwinnett announces finalists for 2009 Teacher of the Year

LAWRENCEVILLE - The list of 112 Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers in the running for the Teacher of the Year county title has been narrowed to 20 semifinalists, officials announced Thursday.

A selection committee made up of teachers, central office personnel and administrators will review the semifinalists' applications and answers to a set of additional questions to choose the six finalists, according to a news release. The names of the finalists will be announced the week of Oct. 13.

Committee members will then visit the classrooms of the finalists and conduct thorough interviews with each one. During the classroom visits, the committee will look for original teaching methods, study the teacher's teaching philosophy and review any special class projects the teacher has initiated, the news release states. The committee will also review each finalist's educational degrees and civic activities.

Based on their findings, the committee will select an elementary, middle and high school Teacher of the Year. One of those three winners will be named Gwinnett's 2009 Teacher of the Year at a banquet Nov. 6 and will be eligible to compete for the state title.

SideBar: The semifinalist

This year's semifinalists are:

Lorraine Mack, fourth-grade teacher at Berkeley Lake Elementary

Jodi Sanchez, science specials teacher at Bethesda Elementary

LeAnn B. Hedrick, ninth-grade gifted language arts teacher at Brookwood High

Ken Leach, biology and oceanography teacher at Collins Hill High

Jamie Nobles, media specialist at Corley Elementary

Frank Folds, band teacher at Alton C. Crews Middle

Monica Grace, sixth-grade science teacher at Five Forks Middle

Kimberly Sharp, media specialist at Ivy Creek Elementary

Elena Diaz, literacy coach at Lovin Elementary

Sue Tavernier, reading specialist at Mulberry Elementary

Mike Reilly, computer science teacher at North Gwinnett High

J. Dawn Smith, special education teacher at Oakland Meadow School

Todd Shultz, social studies teacher at Phoenix High

Maya M. Kirk, seventh-grade language arts teacher at Louise Radloff Middle

Jennifer Herrod, fifth-grade teacher at Rock Springs Elementary

Vicki Evans King, reading specialist at Rockbridge Elementary

Alan Hochbaum, gifted education teacher at Susan Stripling Elementary

Beverly Klein, science specialist at K.E. Taylor Elementary

Aimee Burgamy, art teacher at Trickum Middle

Monica Ball, special education teacher at Margaret Winn Holt Elementary