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GCPS announces finalists for Teacher of the Year

LAWRENCEVILLE - The state's largest school district has officially begun the search for its 2008-09 Teacher of the Year.

Gwinnett County Public Schools on Tuesday released the list of 112 peer-nominated educators who are under consideration for the systemwide honor. Each of the honorees has been named the Teacher of the Year at a Gwinnett school.

"The Teacher of the Year recognition process is always one for celebration," said Nikki Mouton, executive director for staff development. "As a system, we celebrate the talent and power of each Gwinnett teacher and all they do to challenge our students. We're very lucky to have 11,000 dedicated educators, and through the TOTY recognition process, we have an opportunity to salute the best of the best."

From this group of more than 100 teachers, 20 semifinalists will be chosen in early October. The semifinalists' applications will be scored to determine the six finalists. A selection committee made up of teachers, central office personnel and administrators will visit the finalists' classrooms and conduct interviews with each one. The committee looks for original teaching methods, studies the educators' teaching philosophies and reviews any special class projects the teachers have initiated.

The committee will select winners for each level - elementary, middle and high - and one of the level winners will be recognized as the district's Teacher of the Year. The school system's annual banquet and the announcement of this year's top teacher will be held Nov. 6.

SideBar: Teachers of the Year

Gwinnett County Public Schools has announced the names of the top teachers at each school. These 112 peer-nominated educators are under consideration for the title of 2008-09 Teacher of the Year:

* Alcova Elementary - Tracy Kohler, second-grade teacher

* J.A. Alford Elementary - Kerri Nagy, first-grade teacher

* Annistown Elementary - Michelle Bays, third-grade teacher

* Arcado Elementary - Cindy B. Allen, fifth-grade teacher

* Beaver Ridge Elementary - Kara Lefevre, literacy coach (grades 3 to 5)

* Benefield Elementary - Margaret Patterson, second-grade teacher

* Berkeley Lake Elementary - Lorraine Mack, fourth-grade teacher

* Berkmar High - Melissa Vitrano, mathematics teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Berkmar Middle - Kimberly Griffin, social studies teacher (grade 6)

* Bethesda Elementary - Jodi Sanchez, science specials teacher (grades K to 5)

* W.C. Britt Elementary - Sara Forrester, first-grade teacher

* Brookwood Elementary - Cheryl Cole, second-grade teacher

* Brookwood High - LeAnn B. Hedrick, gifted language arts teacher (grade 9)

* T. Carl Buice School - Christi Wells, special education teacher (prekindergarten)

* Camp Creek Elementary - Kathy Herrin, second-grade teacher

* Cedar Hill Elementary - Carol Crew, kindergarten teacher

* Centerville Elementary - Lori Bonn, mathematics coach (grades K to 5)

* Central Gwinnett High - Peggy D. Todd, language arts teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Chattahoochee Elementary - Cheri Jones, science specialist (grades K to 5)

* Charles Brant Chesney Elementary - Matthew Bartholomew, physical education teacher (grades K to 5)

* Collins Hill High - Ken B. Leach, biology and oceanography teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* W.J. Cooper Elementary - Krista K. Pruehs, kindergarten teacher

* Corley Elementary - Jamie Nobles, media specialist (grades K to 5)

* Craig Elementary - Penny Servies, special education teacher (emotional and behavioral disorder, self-contained - grades 4 to 5)

* Creekland Middle - Alexis Walsh, science teacher (grade 6)

* Alton C. Crews Middle - Frank Folds, band teacher (grades 6 to 8)

* Dacula Elementary - LaRon Perry, fourth-grade teacher

* Dacula High - Lesley Buchanan, language arts teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Dacula Middle - Dawn Easley, science teacher (grade 6)

* Duluth High - Bill EuDaly, history, psychology and sociology teacher (grades 11 to 12)

* Duluth Middle - J.W. Mozley, mathematics teacher (grade 8)

* Duncan Creek Elementary - Pam Vaughan, third-grade teacher

* J.G. Dyer Elementary - Meridith Frates, special education teacher (speech/language - grades K to 5)

* Five Forks Middle - Monica Grace, science teacher (grade 6)

* Fort Daniel Elementary - Joy Wolfe, fifth-grade teacher

* Freeman's Mill Elementary - Joshua Allen Farr, music teacher (grades 1 to 5)

* GIVE Center East - Mary Lou Moore, life science teacher (grade 7) and chemistry teacher (grade 10)

* GIVE Center West - Lonnie Duong, mathematics teacher (grade 7)

* Grayson Elementary - Christa Fernandez, kindergarten teacher

* Grayson High - Robert O'Keefe, marketing teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Gwin Oaks Elementary - Claire Collins, second-grade teacher

* Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology - Barbara Steele, Spanish teacher (grades 9 to 10)

* Harbins Elementary - Lea Sirmans, third-grade teacher

* Harmony Elementary - Marcia Dupree, special education teacher (speech/language - grades K to 5)

* B.B. Harris Elementary - Cindy Conley, kindergarten teacher

* R.D. Head Elementary - Phillip Watson, fifth-grade teacher

* G.H. Hopkins Elementary - Lorin Murphy, literacy coach (grades 2 and 3)

* Richard Hull Middle - Dawn Ashby, social studies teacher (grade 6)

* Ivy Creek Elementary - Kimberly Sharp, media specialist (grades K to 5)

* Jackson Elementary - Jane Coldiron, second-grade teacher

* Glenn C. Jones Middle - Tonya Millsap, band teacher (grades 6 to 8)

* Kanoheda Elementary - Aneila Sahaye, third-grade teacher

* Knight Elementary - Judy Butkovich, first-grade teacher

* Lanier Middle - Ewanna Ishii, language arts teacher (grade 6)

* Lawrenceville Elementary - Karlene Hamilton, fourth-grade teacher

* Level Creek Elementary - Kara Taylor, third-grade teacher

* Lilburn Elementary - Nicole M. Lore, second-grade teacher

* Lilburn Middle - Darlene Nails, gifted mathematics teacher (grades 6 to 8)

* Lovin Elementary - Elena Diaz, literacy coach (grades K to 5)

* J.C. Magill Elementary - Shelley Bethel, mathematics coach (grades K to 5)

* M.H. Mason Jr. Elementary - Amy Mock, first-grade teacher

* Maxwell High School of Technology - Tony Shore, construction teacher (grades 11 to 12)

* J.P. McConnell Middle - Lynne Gant, Spanish teacher (grades 6 to 8)

* McKendree Elementary - Mindy Kennedy, fourth-grade teacher

* Meadowcreek Elementary - Kathryn Funk, second-grade teacher

* Meadowcreek High - Jimmie McKinley, band teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Mill Creek High - Beth Autrey, family and consumer science teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Rebecca Minor Elementary - Nancy Hurst, second-grade teacher

* Monarch School - Grace King, special education teacher (ADAPT program)

* Mountain Park Elementary - Jennifer Pozo Lopez, language arts teacher (grade 5)

* Mulberry Elementary - Sue Tavernier, reading specialist (grades K to 5)

* Nesbit Elementary - Alicia Y. Jackson, science specialist (grades K to 5)

* Norcross Elementary - Kia Henley, kindergarten teacher

* Norcross High - Rudy Gilbert, band teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* North Gwinnett High - Michael Reilly, computer science teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* R.L. Norton Elementary - Zakia Slater, reading recovery teacher

* Oakland Meadow School - J. Dawn Smith, special education teacher (severe emotional and behavioral disorder - grade 5)

* Frank N. Osborne Middle - Gretchen Galvin, special education teacher (speech/language - grades 6 to 8)

* Parkview High - Robert Patrick Jr., Latin teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Parsons Elementary - Bonnie Little, fourth-grade teacher

* Henry Partee Elementary - Roberta Morrow, literacy coach (grades K to 5)

* Patrick Elementary - Amy L. Cook, music teacher (grades K to 5)

* Peachtree Elementary - Lauren Held, fifth-grade teacher

* Peachtree Ridge High - Barbara Reed, science teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Pharr Elementary - Nancy Powell, kindergarten and first-grade teacher

* Phoenix High - Todd Shultz, social studies teacher (grades 9 to 12)

* Pinckneyville Middle - Marie Andrade, English to Speakers of Other Languages teacher (grades 7 to 8)

* Puckett's Mill Elementary - Melissa Stanton, mathematics specialist (grades K to 5)

* Louise Radloff Middle - Maya Kirk, language arts teacher (grade 7)

* J.E. Richards Middle - Kristopher Kasler, special education teacher (orthopedic impairment, self-contained - grades 6 to 8)

* Riverside Elementary - Melanie Willis, kindergarten teacher

* Rock Springs Elementary - Jennifer Herrod, fifth-grade teacher (language arts, writing and science)

* Rockbridge Elementary - Vicki King, reading specialist (grades K to 5)

* Rosebud Elementary - Amy Bledsoe, early intervention program teacher and literacy coach (grades K to 5)

* Shiloh Elementary - Ginger McPheeters, kindergarten teacher

* Shiloh High - Andie Derricho, language arts teacher (grade 9)

* Shiloh Middle - John Seay, journalism teacher (Connections - grades 6 to 8)

* Simonton Elementary - Joy Allen, third-grade teacher

* Simpson Elementary - Maria Dausch, kindergarten teacher

* Snellville Middle - Susan Burton, social studies teacher (grade 7)

* South Gwinnett High - Shawn Carter, Advanced Placement language arts teacher (grades 11 to 12)

* Susan Stripling Elementary - Alan Hochbaum, gifted education teacher (grades K to 5)

* Sugar Hill Elementary - Allison Callahan, reading intervention teacher (grades 1 to 3)

* Summerour Middle - Sherema Lewis, language arts teacher (grade 6)

* Suwanee Elementary - Adrianne Hayes, first-grade teacher

* Sweetwater Middle - Lois Bean, gifted language arts and social studies teacher (grade 6)

* Sycamore Elementary - Nancy Fuhrman, mathematics specialist (grades K to 5)

* K.E. Taylor Elementary - Beverly Klein, science specialist (grades K to 5)

* Trickum Middle - Aimee Burgamy, art teacher (grades 6 to 8)

* Trip Elementary - Janelle Jones, first-grade teacher

* Walnut Grove Elementary - Melissa Poynter, third-grade teacher

* Margaret Winn Holt Elementary - Monica Ball, special education teacher (Interrelated Resource - grades 3 to 5)