Lori Ann Bone, a special education teacher at County Line Elementary School, has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year.
"We are elated that the state has recognized our own Lori Ann Bone as a finalist in the Georgia Teacher of the Year program,” said Barrow County Schools superintendant Dr. Ron Saunders. “We have known for some time that Lori was an excellent teacher in our school system. She joins Ashley Burke (Holsenbeck Elementary) and Dion Massey (Yargo Elementary - formerly at Holsenbeck when selected) - both former Georgia Top Ten Teacher of the Year finalists. All three of these finalists would tell you that they represent many, many teachers in our school system that work very hard to bring about the best education possible for all of our students. We wish Lori the best of luck going forward in the months ahead."
Bone, a teacher at CLES since 2004, chose to pursue a career as a special education teacher after working with people with disabilities while in college. The experience, according to Bone, taught her that she had the temperament and perseverance to work with special needs students.
The daughter of two school teachers, Bone said she entered the profession fully aware of the drawbacks associated with teaching. Still, Bone found she had a passion for working with what others describe as difficult students.
In a statement on the Barrow County Schools’ website, Bone wrote, "I believe it is my privilege and responsibility to treat each of my students as if they were my own children. To me that means expecting excellence and having standards of behavior that do not change based on a child's abilities, disabilities, or circumstances."
Bone, along with nine other finalists, was chosen from a pool of 148 applicants. Each applicant had previously been selected as a Teacher of the Year within their respective school districts.
A panel of judges including teachers, administrators, community leaders and past Georgia Teachers of the Year winners chose the ten finalists.
State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox announced the names of the finalists on Feb. 22.
"I am confident that any of these ten outstanding educators would make a terrific 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year," said Cox. "Congratulations to the finalists and to all those who applied for consideration. I know it was very difficult to choose just ten finalists from this strong group of applications."
Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will observe and interview each of the finalists at their schools. The finalists will also give a speech at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power on Mar. 26. The winner will be announced at the Georgia Teacher of the Year Banquet on May 14, 2010 at the Georgia Aquarium. The banquet, paid for through donations from sponsors, will honor each local district Teacher of the Year. A reception hosted by UnitedHealthcare will be held prior to the banquet.
The 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year will spend next school year traveling around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. The winner will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. All finalists will serve on Superintendent Cox's Teacher Advisory Council next school year.
Other finalists for the 2011 Georgia Teacher of the Year include:
• Pam Williams, Appling County High School, Appling County, social studies.
• Henry Rentz, Cass Middle School, Bartow County, language arts.
• Kelly Burke, Woodstock High School, Cherokee County, science.
• Steven Greer, Dodge County High School, Dodge County, JROTC.
• Deborah Stringfellow, Alton C. Crews Middle School, Gwinnett County, science.
• Coni Grebel, Lee County High School, Lee County, language arts.
• Kathy Neal, Thomson High School, McDuffie County, science.
• Bettina Polite Tate, Sol Johnson High, Savannah-Chatham County, marketing and business.
• Laura Gerlach, Sumter County Elementary Math, Science & Technology Academy, Sumter County, third grade.
The Georgia Teacher of the Year Program is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.