GCPS announces finalists for 2018-19 teacher of the year | News


Gwinnett County Public Schools announced its six finalists for the district teacher of the year Thursday.

The finalists for the 2018-19 honor are Juah Nyemadé Baker-Marsh of Lovin Elementary School, Kelly Specht of Riverside Elementary School, Chandra Brandel of Coleman Middle School, Lindsey Saa of Couch Middle School, Heidi Campbell of Parkview High School and Meredith White of Peachtree Ridge High School.

Baker-Marsh has 35 years in education, 15 of which have been in GCPS. For the past 10 years, she has been a pre-K special education teacher at Lovin Elementary.

Spect is a reading recovery and early intervention program teacher for first and second grade at Riverside Elementary. She has spent 29 years as an educator, including 22 years as an educator in GCPS.

Brandel is a sixth-grade math and accelerated math teacher at Coleman Middle in Duluth. She began teaching in GCPS in 2005 and has taught at Sugar Hill Elementary, Hull Middle, Duluth Middle and Coleman.

Saa is an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Couch Middle School. She has 12 years of experience as an educator in the district starting at Snellville Middle in 2007 before moving to Couch Middle in 2012.

Campbell is a journalism teacher and 12th-grade British literature teacher at Parkview High. She has taught 18 years in the school district with stops at Brookwood High beginning in 2000 and moving to Parkview in 2015.

White is a Spanish I and II teacher at Peachtree Ridge High with 12 years of teaching experience. She initially began as a Spanish teacher at Grayson in 2009 before relocating. In 2016, she returned to the school district at Peachtree Ridge.

A selection committee, comprised of GCPS educators, narrowed the field from 25 semifinalists who had been selected from a list of 137 local school teachers of the year.

The committee, which includes former teachers of the year, local school administrators and central office support staff, now has the difficult task of selecting the 2018-19 Teacher of the Year.

As the final element of the judging process, the selection committee will complete classroom observations and conduct interviews with the six finalists. Committee members will look for original teaching methods, study the teacher’s teaching philosophy, review special class projects the teacher has initiated,= and consider the influence the teacher has had on the teaching practices of her colleagues. They also will review each teacher’s educational degrees and civic activities.

Based on their findings, committee members will select an elementary, a middle and a high school teacher of the year.

The level winners will be announced during a banquet Nov. 8 at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth. One of the three level winners will be named Gwinnett’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent GCPS in the Georgia TOTY competition.

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