Category: A - Newsbreaks
Hits: 2011

June 2– Lauren Eckman, an English Language Arts teacher from the Georgia Academy for the Blind (GAB),  one of three State Schools, has been named the 2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

 Ms. Eckman was named the winner of the award at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet held at the Georgia International Convention Center. As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Ms. Eckman will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.

"Lauren Eckman is going to be a fantastic representative of the teaching profession in Georgia," said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge. “With the population of students she serves, she is highly proficient at differentiating instruction and making strong connections with her students. These will be valuable skills to share with other educators throughout the state.”

After student teaching for three months at the Georgia Academy for the Blind, Ms. Eckman decided her calling was with the students at the GAB. After her graduation, she applied for a teaching position at the Academy and has been there since 2004.

In her application, Ms. Eckman stated, "During my teaching career, I have learned that my success as an educator can and should be measured by the success of my students; thus, I believe that my greatest accomplishment has been assisting my students to attain high levels of achievement.”

Ms. Eckman has had an incredible 100% pass rate on the Georgia High School Graduation Writing Test for seven out of the eight years she’s been at the Georgia Academy for the Blind. Several of her students have graduated from college with honors, worked toward Master’s degrees, attended technical school programs, and become gainfully employed.  All of these are remarkable accomplishments since it is statistically rare for students with visual impairments to go to college or be employed.

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Ms. Eckman will represent Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and possibly conducting workshops and programs for educators. She will also compete for the 2013 National Teacher of the Year.


There were 151 district teachers of the year who submitted applications to become the 2013 Georgia 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. Ten finalists were chosen based on the strength of his or her essay responses.

A panel of judges that included Jadun McCarthy, the 2012 Georgia Teacher of the Year, conducted video observations and interviews. The ten finalists then gave speeches at the annual Teacher of the Year luncheon, which was sponsored by Georgia Power.

  2013 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)

Teacher, Subject, System and School

Elisha R. Gray, Severe Intellectual Disabilities

Atlanta Public Schools, Maynard Holbrook Jackson High School


Charles Trader, Mathematics

Camden County, Saint Marys Middle School


Jaslyn Dukes, Reading

Douglas County, J.W. Stewart Middle School


Alana Ellenburg, High School 101 & First Aid/Safety

Floyd County, Pepperell High School


Shelby Ann Steinhauer, French

Fulton County, Milton High School


Sara Taylor, Pre-K Self-contained Special Education

Liberty County, Liberty County Pre-K Center


Dr. Andy Felt, Chemistry & Physical Science

Madison County, Madison County High School


Allison Konter, AP United States Government & Politics, Government, Psychology and Sociology

Savannah-Chatham County, Islands High School


Lauren Eckman, English Language Arts

State Schools, Georgia Academy for the Blind


Billie Jo Diehl, Special Education

White County, White County Intermediate School