Local teacher is state TOTY finalist


State School Superintendent Richard Woods this week announced the finalists for Georgia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.

Martha Villanueva Milam, who teaches AP chemistry at East Coweta High, is on that list.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 155 applicants, all of whom were the Teacher of the Year in their school district. 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.

“Having excellent teachers in the classroom is absolutely essential — our students cannot succeed at high levels without them,” Superintendent Woods said.

“Every one of these ten finalists is a shining example of the difference a great teacher makes in the life of a child. I congratulate each of them on their accomplishments and look forward to working with them to ensure our policies are child-focused and classroom-centered.”

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct video observations and interviews and hear speeches given by the finalists. The winner will be announced in mid-May.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Teacher of the Year program in Georgia. This year’s anniversary will be celebrated with a gala in Savannah with First Lady Sandra Deal as chair.

The 2017 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.

The 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Mr. Ernie Lee, an IB History, Civics and U.S. Government teacher, from Windsor Forest High School in Savannah.

To learn more about the Teacher of the Year program, visit www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/Excellence-Recognition/Pages/Georgia-Teacher-of-the-Year-Program.aspx.