The annual Teacher of the Year Gala presented by First Student and the Savannah Morning News was held Thursday, January 24th at the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort & Spa. The event brings together 51 of the district’s top teachers to honor their outstanding achievements and contributions to public education. Of the 51 school level Teacher of the Year representatives, four finalists were honored culminating in the announcement of the Savannah-Chatham Teacher of the Year, Natalie Chase of Windsor Forest High School, who will move on to participate in the Georgia State Teacher of the Year program. The finalists included: Marti G. Cribbs of Georgetown K-8, Monica N. Roland of Oglethorpe Charter, and Linda Byerly of Jacob G. Smith Elementary School.
The 2012 district level Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Allison Konter, was hand to welcome Natalie Chase as the newly named Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Konter will continue to act as the District Teacher of the Year through the 2013 school year. The Gala event is made possible by the generous support of area businesses and many community partners.
Georgia’s Teacher of the Year Program (TOTY) annually spotlights the teaching profession and recognizes outstanding public school teachers at the local and state levels. The state level program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. It is a prestigious awards program to focus attention on excellence in teaching. The first Georgia Teacher of the Year was selected in 1971. Savannah Chatham County’s first Teacher of the Year was selected in 1975 and was Ms. Geraldine Dillon from Pulaski Elementary. The Georgia Teacher of the Year, an educational ambassador for the Georgia Public School System, acts as a representative for all Georgia public school teachers and as an advocate for the school systems, its students, and its teachers.