The Bartow County School System was set to crown its Teacher of the Year award winner Tuesday, Oct. 29, from among three finalists named earlier this month.

Finalists for the honor came from 20 school-level winners and represent the school system’s elementary, middle and high school levels.

They include science teacher Dana Hunt of Woodland High School, Exceptional Education teacher Allie Ingle of Red Top Middle School, and Esthela Guzman, first-grade teacher at White Elementary School.

A group from outside the school system was set to observe the three finalists and name the winner, said school system spokesperson Alisha Evans.

All 20 school-level Teachers of the Year were invited to the Oct. 29 banquet, Evans said.

Hunt “was an attentive teacher who never hesitated to go the extra mile to help my daughter and her fellow classmates develop a love of science,” said Sha Ristroph, a Bartow teacher and parent.

“She is a favorite teacher among Woodland High School students and her willingness to meet the needs of all her students was unwavering,” Ristroph said on the school system’s Facebook page.

“She goes above and beyond providing hands-on, creative, and exciting lessons for her students and everything about her seemed to say, ‘I know you can do it.’”

Ingle “does not teach for awards or accolades, but simply to inspire and impact all those she comes in contact with each day,” said Red Top Middle School teacher Dana Walters on the Facebook page.

“She has mastered the art of being firm but fair, having rules yet maintaining relationships, and remembering that, though she teaches different content/subject areas, she is really teaching students whom she freely offers understanding, acceptance, and grace,” Walters said.

Guzman “continuously goes beyond her call of duty and is often found translating and interpreting for not only our Spanish-speaking White Elementary families but also our county,” said Jennifer Martin, ESOL instructor at White Elementary,

“Esthela has volunteered her time on numerous occasions to stay late and give our Spanish families academic support and a voice. She has built lasting relationships with our school community and all are grateful for her presence in their children’s lives.”

The winner will be eligible to compete for the Georgia Teacher of the Year award.

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