Teacher of the Year History
Georgia's Teacher of the Year Program (TOTY) annually spotlights the teaching profession and recognizes outstanding public school teachers at the local and state levels. The program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. It is a prestigious awards program to focus attention on excellence in teaching. The first Georgia Teacher of the Year was selected in 1971. Savannah-Chatham County’s first Teacher of the Year was in 1975 and was Ms. Geraldine Dillon from Pulaski Elementary.
The Georgia Teacher of the Year, an educational ambassador for the Georgia Public School System, acts as a representative for all Georgia public school teachers and as an advocate for the school systems, its students, and its teachers. The Georgia TOTY's numerous engagements usually include recognition before the Georgia House and Senate during the session of the General Assembly. The TOTY takes a one-year sabbatical working directly with the Georgia Department of Education. During this time he or she speaks to various groups throughout the state. This teacher representative also conducts staff development activities for other teachers in his or her area of expertise; serves on statewide committees; and attends and participates in numerous state conferences.