COVINGTON - Teachers in the Newton County School System are involved in some friendly competition this month.
They are vying to be the Teacher of the Year.
For the past several weeks, schools have elected teachers to be considered for the title.
Those teachers at each of the county's 21 schools who were selected at the school level now will go on to compete for the county's Teacher of the Year, who then will contend for the award at the state and possibly national level.
All teachers in prekindergarten through grade 12 who have been teachers for at least three years and in NCSS for a minimum of two consecutive years were eligible for the nomination.
Sherri Viniard, director of public relations for NCSS, said the candidates also should have plans to continue teaching, inspire all students, play an active community role and be "poised and articulate," among other qualities.
To be considered for the county spot, the 21 teachers have submitted applications, which include essay questions regarding their background, teaching philosophy and teaching styles. A panel of judges volunteering from the school system, the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and other local business and civic organizations will score the essays.
"Judges are given the maximum number of points each question is worth, and they rate or grade the essays based on that number," Viniard said. "I tell (the judges) to base their scores on the qualities they would want and expect from the person who would represent our school system in the Georgia Teacher of the Year program. From there, it's entirely up to the judges."
The judges will not see the teachers' names on the essays, she said.
They also will interview the candidates.
The school system will announce the three teachers with the highest combined scores on Oct. 24, and the TOTY selection committee then will observe the finalists in their classrooms on Tuesday, Oct. 28.
The school system is expected to announce the county's Teacher of the Year - the one who earns the highest score from the essay, interview and observation - during a TOTY ceremony at Newton High School that begins at 4:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6.
The two runners-up will receive a crystal vase, while the county Teacher of the Year will receive a crystal vase, three months free car rental from Covington Ford, a TOTY ring from Herrf-Jones and a $1,000 check.
The winner also will compete for the title of Georgia Teacher of the Year, who will move on to try to win the title of national Teacher of the Year.
Last school year, Eastside High School Latin teacher Eric Adams was selected as the county's Teacher of the Year.
Michelle Floyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.