Fayette County Teacher of the Year Suzette Weinhardt, of Sandy Creek High School, has been named by the Georgia Department of Education as one of 10 finalists for the Georgia Teacher of the Year.
School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Weinhardt, a math teacher, is the fourth Fayette County Teacher of the Year selected as a state finalist and is the second county winner from Sandy Creek High to vie for the state title.
The school system’s first-ever finalist was Dawn Burnette of McIntosh High (2005 county winner), followed by Shelly McLemore of Flat Rock Middle (2006 county winner) and Alexandra Vlachakis of Sandy Creek High (2014 winner).
“If Weinhardt wins, she will make history as the first Fayette County teacher selected as Georgia’s teacher of the year,” Berry-Dreisbach said.
Berry-Dreisbach said the 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 150 applicants; all of whom had been previously selected as their school district’s Teacher of the Year. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.
Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct interviews and observe speeches given by the finalists. The winner will be announced June 12, said Berry-Dreisbach.
The 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and nation serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition, Berry-Dreisbach said.