East Newton Elementary teacher Julie Thompson was just named the 2013 Teacher of the Year for the Newton County School System.
Thomspon was announced as the winner Thursday afternoon at a celebration at Newton High School. She received one dozen roses, a three-month free car rental from Covington Ford and a check for $1,000 from the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.
Thompson has been teaching at East Newton since 2001. She started as a third grade teacher but now teaches fourth grade at the school.
Thompson is East Newton's teacher Leader for the Learning Focused Schools and Keys to Quality program. She also serves as a mentor teacher to new teachers in the district's BEST program. She said she never expected the honor.
"I love seeing the kids find their joy and find their passion in what they love doing," Thompson said previously when she was announced as finalist. "I'm just very shocked and humbled. I've had a lot of family support and support here at East Newton."
Thompson said this is her 12th year teaching. She said her husband John Thompson is also a fourth grade teacher, who teaches at Middle Ridge Elementary School.
East Newton Principal Kim Coady screamed with joy and quickly led the way to Thompson's classroom to surprise her with the announcement when Thompson was selected as one of three finalists.
"She deserves it so much. She goes so far above what is expected," Coady said at the time.
"We are just so proud of her. I would have loved to be in her fourth grade class," Thompson's sister Sherrie Bruce said previously. "I think she and John are both excellent fourth grade teachers and they just give so much to their kids."
The teacher of the year selection committee met Oct. 9 to observe all three finalists in their classroom. Thompson won because she the highest combined score on the essay, interview and observation portions of the contest.