SCCPSS teacher among finalists for 2022 Georgia Teacher of the Year

Local News

Cherie Dennis at the annual Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Gala (courtesy of SCCPSS)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia’s State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced the 10 finalists for 2022 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Among the finalists, a Savannah Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) teacher.

Cherie Bonder Dennis, an ESOL Teacher for Hesse K-8 School joins the shortlist for a chance at being named the state’s top educator for the year.

Dennis was recognized as SCCPSS’ 2021-2022 District Teacher of the Year.

Dennis is currently in her eleventh year of teaching. 

She is a graduate of Georgetown University, Stanford University, Armstrong Atlantic State University, and Mercer University.

According to the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), the finalists were chosen from a pool of applicants all previously 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, administrators, community leaders and others. 

The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses.

GDOE says the Georgia Teacher of the Year program was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s finalists were selected from the original 2021 group (those initially slated to be recognized in May 2020). 

GDOE says this ensured that the group would not miss the opportunity to be recognized by the statewide program.

See the full list of finalists below:

2022 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by last name)

  • Natasha Nicole Berry, Third Grade Teacher, Sallas Mahone Elementary School, Valdosta City Schools
  • Tewanna L. Brown, Business and Computer Science Teacher, Mount Zion Middle School, Carroll County Schools
  • Rebecca Elizabeth Carlisle, AP World History and STEM Humanities Teacher, North Gwinnett High School, Gwinnett County Public Schools
  • Cherie Bonder Dennis, ESOL Teacher, Hesse K-8 School, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools
  • Shanika Nichole Freeman, Fifth Grade Social Studies Teacher, Moreland Road Elementary School, Griffin-Spalding County Schools
  • Catherine Nichole Hampton, Elementary STEAM Teacher, W.L. Swain Elementary School, Gordon County Schools
  • Michelle Mickens, English Teacher, Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School, Wilkes County Schools
  • Maggie Johnson Pruitt, Self-Contained Special Education Teacher, Buford High School, Buford City Schools
  • Jennifer Hawthorne Smith, Kindergarten Teacher, Jeffersonville Elementary School, Twiggs County Schools,
  • Matthew Ellis Taylor, Fifth Grade Math and Science Teacher, Southwest Laurens Elementary School, Laurens County Schools

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