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School system honors finalists for Troup County teacher of the year

Staff report

Sara Sands, teacher of the year finalist and eighth grade language arts teacher at Long Cane Middle School, stands with Principal Chip Giles, left, and Superintendent Cole Pugh.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_TOTY-Sara-Sands-1.jpgSara Sands, teacher of the year finalist and eighth grade language arts teacher at Long Cane Middle School, stands with Principal Chip Giles, left, and Superintendent Cole Pugh. Submitted | Troup County School System
Laura Lee Pike, center, teacher of the year finalist and a 10–12th grade teacher in literature and language arts at THINC academy, stands with, from left, THINC President Kathy Carlisle, Principal Chris Williams, Superintendent Cole Pugh and Registrar Jennifer Pike.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_TOTY-Laura-Lee-Pike-1.jpgLaura Lee Pike, center, teacher of the year finalist and a 10–12th grade teacher in literature and language arts at THINC academy, stands with, from left, THINC President Kathy Carlisle, Principal Chris Williams, Superintendent Cole Pugh and Registrar Jennifer Pike. Submitted | Troup County School System
Jill Gay, center, teacher of the year finalist and a second grade teacher at Hollis Hand Elementary School, stands with, from left, Principal Jack Mormon; her husband; her son; Superintendent Cole Pugh; Patty Lee, director of elementary curriculum; and a supportive teacher.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_TOTY-Jill-Gay-1.jpgJill Gay, center, teacher of the year finalist and a second grade teacher at Hollis Hand Elementary School, stands with, from left, Principal Jack Mormon; her husband; her son; Superintendent Cole Pugh; Patty Lee, director of elementary curriculum; and a supportive teacher. Submitted | Troup County School System
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_STOCK-Education-1.jpgSubmitted | Troup County School System

LaGRANGE — The three finalists for the Troup County School System teacher of the year designation have been selected and each received the surprise announcement Wednesday.

Jill Gay, a second grade teacher at Hollis Hand Elementary School, was chosen as elementary teacher of the year.

Sara Sands, an eighth grade language arts teacher at Long Cane Middle School, was chosen as middle school teacher of the year.

Laura Lee Pike, a 10–12th grade teacher of world literature, British literature, AP literature and AP language arts at THINC academy, was chosen as high school teacher of the year.

Troup County schools Superintendent Cole Pugh, bouquet of flowers in hand and balloon with ‘It’s Your Day’ written on it, surprised the three teachers in their classrooms Wednesday morning as he announced they were finalists.

“Today is one of the days I enjoy the most about being superintendent of schools because we are announcing the three finalists for teacher of the year,” Pugh told students in each classroom. “Out of over 700 teachers, we were able to narrow it down to the top three, and one of them is your teacher, so that is a big honor.”

The competition started with 25 nominees who submitted a six page application packet that included their resumes. Applications were anonymously read by school leaders, business leaders and partners in education board members. Officials then calculated the top three scores for each division – elementary, middle and high schools – to determine the finalists.

Next, the finalists will participate in a classroom observation and application process conducted by three judges with a background in education. From the judge’s evaluations and final scores, one system winner will be announced March 16 at the annual Teacher of the Year reception.

The winner will advance to the state Teacher of the Year competition in Atlanta.

Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.