Teacher of the Year finalists announced

Published 2:43 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

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The Troup County School System (TCSS) has announced four finalists for the Teacher of the Year (TOTY).

School Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate surprised the teachers in their classrooms Friday morning with flowers and gift bags as part of the annual Teacher of the Year Surprise Patrol tradition.

The teachers were joined by principals, family, co-workers and friends for the announcements.

Three TOTY finalists are normally chosen, one from the elementary, middle and high school levels, but there was a tie at the high school level this year. All four will move on to compete in the system-wide competition later this spring.

Second Grade Teacher Layna Kemp was named Elementary Teacher of the Year. Kemp teaches all subjects at Long Cane Elementary.

Seventh Grade Teacher Debbie Cox was named Middle School Teacher of the Year. Cox teaches Life Science at Gardner Newman Middle School.

Laura Lee Pike and Dr. Zelda Kitt were named Co-High School Teachers of the Year. Pike teaches 9th grade World Literature, American Literature and British Literature at Troup County Career Center. Kitt teaches 9th through 12th grade English Language Arts at The Hope Academy.

“We are extremely proud of all our TOTY candidates, especially the four finalists recognized today. Daily, these teachers demonstrate a passion for learning and results, as seen by their interactions with students and their collaborations with their peers. This is one of the best parts of my job when we recognize our outstanding TCSS employees! I wish the four finalists good luck.” said Shumate in a TCSS press release.

The finalists will now move on to the next phase of the competition where they will be judged by educational professionals from outside Troup County. The judges will observe classroom instruction, conduct interviews and review the finalist’s written applications.

The school system will announce the overall TCSS Teacher of the Year during a reception on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. All school-level Teacher of the Year winners will also be recognized at the event.

Troup High School’s Dr. Linda Wood is the reigning TCSS Teacher of the Year. She is currently competing for Georgia Teacher of the Year, which is expected to be announced in May.