East Coweta High School science teacher Martha Milam has been announced as a finalist for Georgia’s 2017 Teacher of the Year.
Milam – a 12-year educator, and a leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs at ECHS and in the Coweta school system – was chosen last year as the Coweta County School System’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.
State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced 10 finalists for the state honor on Monday. Finalists were chosen from a pool of 155 applicants, all of whom were the Teacher of the Year in their school district.
“Having excellent teachers in the classroom is absolutely essential – our students cannot succeed at high levels without them,” Superintendent Woods said. “Every one of these ten finalists is a shining example of the difference a great teacher makes in the life of a child. I congratulate each of them on their accomplishments and look forward to working with them to ensure our policies are child-focused and classroom-centered.”
The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others. Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct video observations and interviews and hear speeches given by the finalists. The winner will be announced in mid-May.
Milam has taught AP Chemistry and physical science at East Coweta High School since 2008. She is a 1990 graduate of Furman University, and earned her master’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992. She began her career working as a chemist for Michelin Tire, but followed her passion to begin a career in education. She also taught at Cypress Creek High School and at the University of Houston earlier in her career.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Teacher of the Year program in Georgia. This year’s anniversary will be celebrated with a gala in Savannah with First Lady Sandra Deal as chair.
The 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year will travel 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.
The 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists announced by the state Superintendent Monday include:
Martha Villanueva Milam, AP Chemistry, Chemistry
Coweta County, East Coweta High
Casey M. Bethel, AP Physics, AP Biology, Honors Physics, Biology, Physical Science
Douglas County, New Manchester High
Heather Cocke, English Language Arts
Effingham County, Ebenezer Middle
Marlo Miranda, Automotive Technologies
Forsyth County, Forsyth Central High
Heather McConnell, Special Education
Gainesville City, Gainesville Middle
Jennifer Taylor, Science
Harris County, Harris County Carver Middle
Sara Jones Wilder, Fourth Grade
Lowndes County, James L. Dewar Elementary
Dr. Debra Russell, AP Biology, Magnet Biology, Anatomy and Physiology
Rockdale County, Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology
Michelle Courtwright Ashmore, AP U.S. Government, Comparative Religion and Economics
Troup County, Troup County Comprehensive High
Joseph Cody Moncrief, Mathematics
Valdosta City, Valdosta Middle
The 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year is Mr. Ernie Lee, an IB History, Civics and U.S. Government teacher, from Windsor Forest High School in Savannah.
Three Coweta County School System Teachers of the Year have been selected as Georgia TOTY, including Lorraine Johnson, Nancy Royal and Jamie Lipscomb. There have also been 15 Coweta County semi-finalists for Georgia teacher of the year since 1986.