Sandy Creek’s Vlachakis on list for Ga. Teacher of Year


The Fayette County School System is represented in the running for the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Alexandra Vlachakis of Sandy Creek High is one of 10 finalists chosen from a pool of 151 applicants.

School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said Vlachakis, an information technology teacher at Sandy Creek High School and Fayette County’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, is one of 10 finalists statewide.

“I congratulate these 10 finalists for 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year,” said state School Superintendent Richard Woods. “I’m looking forward to working with this extraordinary group of teachers to ensure our policies are child-focused and classroom-centered.”

Vlachakis helped write curriculum for the state’s new digital media career pathway that was approved by the Georgia Department of Education late last year, said Berry-Dreisbach.

“If she wins, she will make history as the first Fayette County teacher selected as Georgia’s teacher of the year,” Berry-Dreisbach said.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 151 applicants who were selected as the teacher of the year in their school districts. 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, said Berry-Dreisbach.

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct video observations, and interview each of the finalists. This week, finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year conference during the luncheon on May 8, 2015, in the Floyd Room at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Veterans Memorial Building. The conference, which is paid for through donations from sponsors, will honor each local district teacher of the year, according to the Georgia Department of Education (DOE).

The Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel 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, DOE said.

Berry-Driesbach said Vlachakis is the third Fayette County Teacher of the Year selected as a state finalist. The district’s first-ever finalist was Dawn Burnette of McIntosh High (2005 county winner), followed by Shelly McLemore of Flat Rock Middle (2006 county winner).