The candidates for the 2010 McDuffie County Teacher of the Year have been selected, and were announced at the planning meeting of the Board of Education earlier this month.
Assistant Superintendent Barry O'Neill said the candidates were selected at the end of the school year last year to give them more time to work on the required paperwork involved in the application process.
At Thomson Elementary School, the TOTY was announced to the faculty during their luncheon on the last day of post planning.
"As we sat around and enjoyed our last meal together for the school year, I was blown away with the announcement that I was the Teacher of the Year," Candy Candler said. "Words could not describe the excitement and honor I felt at that moment, and usually I am never without words! I continue to be honored and feel privileged to work with such wonderful teachers and students here at Thomson Elementary School."
Each year, one teacher at each of the four McDuffie County elementary schools, Thomson Middle School, Thomson-McDuffie Junior High and Thomson High School is chosen by their peers as that school's Teacher of the Year.
"I feel extremely honored to be named Teacher of the Year for Dearing Elementary," Lori Whatley said. "My colleagues deserve a lot of credit because they have helped to make me the teacher that I am, and they challenge me daily to become even better. I am so blessed to work in a place where my co-workers are like my family."
Each of the school-level winners will compete for the honor of being named the McDuffie County Teacher of the Year. That teacher's application then will be submitted to the Georgia Department of Education for the state level competition.
"Being selected by the faculty at Thomson Middle School as Teacher of the Year is the greatest honor I've ever received," Brad Pirkle said. "I've grown to view the faculty (at TMS) as the family that it is. I'm proud to represent the finest teachers in the state."
"Being named Teacher of the Year at Maxwell is one of the most humbling, yet awe-inspiring, experiences that I have had in life. To know that my colleagues perceive me to be one who goes the extra mile to ensure that all students reach their personal best is beyond rewarding," Zebearl Bentley said.
"The teachers at Thomson High are some of the best you will ever find. To receive Teacher of the Year is a direct reflection of their influence on me. I would not have been as successful if I worked with any other teachers but these. I am indebted to them all and deeply honored," Pam McCorkle said.
And finally, "It is an honor to be chosen as Teacher of the Year by the faculty of Norris Elementary School. We have so many incredibly talented teachers, and for them to think this much of me to represent them is so overwhelming. For as long as I can remember, all I have ever wanted to do is teach. It is truly a calling. Teaching is such an amazing profession, because where else could an average person, like me, have the opportunity to touch and shape the future. What an awesome responsibility," Shelley Snider said.
"I am truly honored and very excited to be named the very first Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School Teacher of the Year," said Renee Askew.
The McDuffie County Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet the end of October at Belle Meade Country Club. The 2009 McDuffie TOTY, Melissa Welch, will deliver remarks to the candidates during the banquet.
The candidates who will be honored at the banquet are:
- Lori Whatley, special education teacher, Dearing Elementary School
- Zebearl Bentley, 1st grade teacher, Maxwell Elementary School
- Candy Candler, 3rd grade teacher, Thomson Elementary School
- Shelley Snider, 5th grade teacher, Norris Elementary School
- Brad Pirkle, band director, Thomson Middle School
- Renee Askew, 8th grade language arts teacher, Thomson-McDuffie Junior High School
- Pam McCorkle, choral director, Thomson High School