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Toombs Teacher Among State Finalists
Monday, 09 February 2009

February 9, 2009 -- State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced the finalists for 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year (GTOY) Monday.

Jennifer Beckum Irvin of Toombs County High School is among ten finalists for statewide Teacher of the Year honors.

She graduated from Toombs County High School, for seven years she's been teaching literature at Toombs Count High School, and Monday morning Jennifer Irvin was notified she's a top-ten finalist for Georgia's Teacher of the Year.

"I was speechless for a few moments when I was on the phone with the lady from the state Department of Education.  It's such an honor that I just didn't know what to say.  I hope this will bring positive attention to Toombs County High School," she said.

  The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 147 applicants that were selected as the Teachers of the Year in their school districts. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past GTOY winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.  
   "I am confident that any of these ten outstanding educators would make a terrific 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year," said Superintendent Cox. "Congratulations to the finalists and to all those who applied for consideration. I know it was very difficult to choose just 10 finalists from this strong group of applications."
   Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists at their schools. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power on March 23. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year Banquet on May 15, 2009. The banquet, which is paid for through donations from sponsors, will be held at the Georgia Aquarium. A reception hosted by Verizon Wireless will be held prior to the banquet.
   The 2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year will spend next school year traveling around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. All finalists will serve on Superintendent Cox's Teacher Advisory Council.
   The 2009 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Ms. Leanne Maule, of Cartersville, a teacher at Cartersville High School. To learn about Ms. Maule and the Teacher of the Year program, visit http://www.gadoe.org/ci.aspx?PageReq=TOTY.

2010 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)
Teacher, School, System, Subject

- Tiffany Todd, Southeast Bulloch High School, Bulloch County, U.S. History and Drama
- Mark Lang, Camden Middle School, Camden County, Life Science
- Gwen Desselle, Colquitt County High School, Colquitt County, Social Studies
- Michele Rigsby, BelAir Elementary School, Columbia County, 4th grade
- Suzy Besson-Martilotta, Chattahoochee Elementary School, Forsyth County, 1st grade
- Merrill Boynton-Cheyne, Harris County, Carver Middle School, Harris County, Drama, Reading, Journalism
- Sandy Akin, East Jackson Comprehensive High School, Jackson County, Mathematics
- Krista Pearson, Lowndes High School, Lowndes County, Mathematics
- Kathie Wood, Marietta Middle School, Marietta City, Language Arts
- Jennifer Beckum Irvin, Toombs County High School, Toombs County, British Literature and Drama

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