Local teachers named finalists for Georgia Teacher of the Year

Georgia State School Superintendent Dr. Richard Woods with Holly Witcher at Tesnatee Gap Elementary School in White County on Friday, March 15, 2024. (Tesnatee Gap Elementary School / Facebook)

White County teacher Holly Witcher has been selected as a finalist for the 2024 Georgia Teacher of the Year award. Witcher, who teaches special education at Tesnatee Gap Elementary School, joins Chestatee High School teacher Steven McIntyre as one of ten finalists statewide.

State School Superintendent Dr. Richard Woods surprised Witcher at her school on Friday to let her know she’d been selected as a finalist.

Witcher was White County’s District Teacher of the Year in 2023. She holds a master’s degree in education and has dedicated herself to becoming a lifelong educator and learner. She has earned endorsements in the gifted field and as a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Witcher also earned a teacher support specialist service certificate, which provided her with the knowledge to mentor other new teachers in the county.

In addition to teaching in traditional public schools, Witcher taught online for ten years at Georgia Cyber Academy, where she served as a lead teacher for four years and as Elementary School Assistant Administrator of Special Programs for four years.

She was named Teacher of the Year for her school in Rockdale County in 2006.

Former WAGA-TV employee up for TOTY

Dr. Richard Woods surprised Chestatee High School CTAE teacher Steven McIntyre with a certificate on March 8, 2024, recognizing him as a finalist for Georgia’s 2025 Teacher of the Year award. (Georgia Dept. of Education/Facebook)

Another Northeast Georgia teacher, Steven McIntyre, was selected as a finalist for Georgia’s 2025 Teacher of the Year award. He teaches CTAE: Audio Video and Film Tech at the school.

McIntyre holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Georgia and will complete a Specialist in Education degree there in May.

Before teaching, McIntyre spent 12 years working in the broadcast television industry, spending most of his career at WAGA FOX 5 Atlanta.

Other Georgia TOTY finalists

Other finalists in the running to become Georgia’s 2025 Teacher of the Year include:

  • Daisha Taylor, 5th-grade math and science teacher at Church Street Elementary School in Clayton County
  • Leigha Burnham, Library Media & Technology Specialist at Summerville Middle School in Chattooga County
  • Ashleigh Wright, social studies teacher at Southeast Bulloch High School in Bulloch County
  • Alicia Reno, 3rd-5th STEM/STEAM at Talley Street Upper Elementary School in City Schools of Decatur
  • Crystal McDowell, AP biology, human anatomy and physiology, and genetics teacher at Greenbrier High School in Columbia County Schools
  • Jennifer Cofield, 12th-grade literature and 9-12 ESOL teacher at Morgan County High School
  • Ashley Young, 8th-grade teacher at Lanier County Middle School in Lanier County Schools.

The tenth and final finalist is set to be revealed later this month.

The finalists will meet with a panel of judges for formal speeches and interviews before the Georgia Teacher of the Year is selected.

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