Local teacher finalist for 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year

Published 4:11 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

ATLANTA — State School Superintendent Richard Woods today announced the finalists for 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

One is Laura Gerlach, a fifth-grade teacher at Furlow Charter School in Americud.

The 10 finalists were chosen from a pool of 150 applicants; all had been previously selected as their school district’s Teacher of the Year. all of whom had been selected as their school district’s Teacher of the Year. The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.

“It’s hard to name anything quite so important to a student’s success as the influence of a truly excellent teacher,” Superintendent Woods said. “While we will narrow the list down to a single Georgia Teacher of the Year, every person on this list deserves our respect, admiration, and gratitude. Each of them is a testament to the powerful difference a great teacher can make in the life of a child. I want to offer each of them my sincere congratulations – I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come to ensure our policies at the state level are focused in the right place – on the child.”

Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct interviews and observe speeches given by the finalists. The winner will be announced June 12.


The 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel around the state and the nation, serving as an ambassador for the teaching profession. He or she will also be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

The 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Casey Bethel, an AP Physics, AP Biology and Physical Science teacher from New Manchester High in Douglasville.