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Gwinnett selects semifinalists for district’s top honor

The field of teachers vying to become the 2020-21 Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year just got smaller as Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) announced the names of the 25 semifinalists to be considered for the system’s top honor. The group of 15 elementary, five middle, and five high school teachers was selected from the initial list of 139 local school Teachers of the Year who were nominated by their colleagues at their local schools. On December 10, 2020, GCPS will host a virtual celebration honoring this year’s finalists and naming the top teacher in Gwinnett County. 

     This year’s Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year semifinalists are:

  • Yvonda Thomas of Alcova ES—Gifted Education Teacher (Grades 1-5)
  • Dr. Jessica Ewalt of Berkmar HS—AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, and AP Research Teacher (Grade 12) 
  • Kelley Donovan of Coleman MS—Humanities Teacher (Grade 6) 
  • Dr. Kinsey Edwards of Crews MS—Orchestra Teacher (Grades 6-8)
  • Stephanie Malley of Dacula ES—3rd Grade Teacher
  • Whitley Arens Parker of Duluth HS—Special Education Teacher – Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 4) and Interrelated Resource (Grades 10-12)
  • Julianne Purnell  of Five Forks MS—Health Teacher (Grades 6-8)
  • Heather Thorpe of Fort Daniel ES—5th Grade Teacher
  • La’Bria Hannah of Graves ES—3rd Grade Teacher 
  • Ferdye Bamaca of Grayson ES—1st Grade Teacher
  • Melissa Barth of Harbins ES—2nd Grade Teacher
  • Olivia Boza of Knight ES—2nd Grade Teacher
  • Lena Alonso of Lilburn ES—Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 5)
  • Kinsley Compton of Lovin ES—Spanish Teacher (Grades K-5)
  • Dr. Leslie A. Dunham of McClure Health Science HS—AP Environmental Science, AP Physics, and Physics Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)
  • Angelika Shelley of Northbrook MS—Social Studies Teacher (Grade 6) 
  • Mona Brawley of Partee ES—STEAM Teacher (Grades K-5)
  • Philip Peavy of Paul Duke STEM HS—Cybersecurity and Game Design Teacher (Grades 10-12)
  • Kelly Sibley of Peachtree ES—Reading Recovery and English to Speakers of Other Languages Teacher (Grades 1-3)
  • Genny Greco of Riverside ES—3rd Grade Teacher
  • Danielle Swaby of South Gwinnett HS—Work-Based Learning Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)
  • Katie Blum of Sugar Hill ES—2nd Grade Teacher 
  • Kelsi Carter Hamilton of Trickum MS—Language Arts Teacher (Grade 8)
  • Courtney Smith of Trip ES—Music Teacher (Grades K-5)
  • Kristy Shea of White Oak ES—1st Grade Teacher 

     GCPS would like to thank this year’s sponsors for their support of great teachers and for making this celebration of outstanding teaching possible. The 2020-21 TOTY Sponsors are:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Peach State Credit Union
  • Platinum Sponsors: AIG, Hayes Chrysler Dodge Jeep, IBM, and Lifetouch
  • Gold Sponsor: The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc.
  • Silver Sponsors: Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation Fund, Inc., and Kroger
  • Bronze Sponsors: Celia Brien