Yeargin named finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year

Published 6:04 pm Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Troup County High School’s Kayla Yeargin has been named one of 10 finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made through a press release from the Georgia Department of Education, and named Yeargin a finalist. She was also the 2017 Troup County Teacher of the Year.

“It’s a huge honor because not many people can say they get to represent their state and their county the way that I have,” Yeargin said. “There’s been I think four [finalists] in Troup County and to be held to that standard makes me want to keep pushing. I get to tell the whole state how great Troup County is.”

Yeargin has been teaching for eight years at Troup High School and teaches accelerated algebra and algebra I. Yeargin also serves as a golf and softball coach at Troup High School.

She was surprised by Superintendent Cole Pugh and other school system leaders Wednesday morning when they brought flowers to her classroom and broke the news to her students.

“We are proud to have another Troup County School System educator named as a top finalist in the state,” Pugh said in an email. “We have great people, great students and great teachers. Kayla has earned this recognition, and we hope to see her do well. Her passion is in the classroom, and she has shown she can bring the world of math alive with her students. Good luck to her in the state competition.”  

The Troup County School System has never had a teacher win the statewide teacher of the year honor, according to Yolanda Stephen, director of public relations.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 150 applicants who had all been selected as their school district’s teacher of the year. The finalists were chosen by the strength of their essay responses. The applications were reviewed by a panel of teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators and community leaders. 

The 10 finalists met with a panel of judges for a formal interview and gave speeches during a luncheon on April 16. The winner will be announced May 19.

Yeargin said her students were extremely supportive when they found out on Wednesday. 

“They have been congratulatory all day,” Yeargin said. “They asked ‘how can we help? What do you need us to do?’ ‘I said, just keep being awesome. That’s all you’ve got to do.’”

The Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and the country, serving as an ambassador on the teaching profession in Georgia, according to a Georgia Department of Education press release. 

“It will certainly be a difficult decision for our panel of judges to choose who should be the 2019 Teacher of the Year,” said State Superintendent Richard Woods in a press release. “It is evident upon meeting each finalist that they treat education as more than just a profession — it is their calling. It is my honor to meet each of them as they all are obviously dedicated, quality educators.”

The other finalists include Shaylen Dixon (Fayette County), Dr. Doug Doblar (Gwinett County), Allison Kerley (Fulton County), Dr. Stefan Lawrence (Muscogee County), Nancy Rogers (Thomas County), Maleah Stewart (Forsyth County), Ike Thompson (Houston County), Melanie Thompson (Georgia Academy for the Blind) and Stephanie Vidrine (Cherokee County).