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Selecting the best: NCSS names finalists for top award

COVINGTON - The Newton County School System has selected some of its top teachers to compete for the title of Teacher of the Year.

Since the beginning of the school year, school staff members have been looking for teachers who are exceptional, dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled, according to guidelines.

"This is an exciting time because they are being recognized by their peers in school, and to me, that's one of the better awards you can receive," NCSS deputy superintendent Dennis Carpenter said.

These teachers should have inspired students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn; have the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues; play an active and useful role in the school and community; and be poised and articulate, according to the guidelines.

Qualified candidates are public school classroom teachers in prekindergarten through 12th grade. In Newton, the teachers come from all 23 facilities, including the elementary, middle and high schools, as well as the two parent-involvement theme schools and Sharp Learning Center alternative school.

This year, top teachers included those from first grade, second grade, fourth grade, physical education and literature, among other subjects and grades.

Soon, each of the school-level Teachers of the Year will submit essay answers on several questions regarding their educational background, philosophy and teaching style. Then, each teacher will sit for a 20-minute interview conducted by a volunteer panel of judges from the school system, the Newton County Chamber of Commerce and local businesses and civic organizations.

From that, NCSS will announce the top three finalists after totaling the three highest combined scores. On Oct. 30, system and school staff members will surprise the chosen teachers with a special visit to their classrooms.

The county's Teacher of the Year will be announced during a special ceremony at Newton High School on Nov. 12.

Newton's selected Teacher of the Year will go on to compete for the state's Teacher of the Year.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.