Each year the state department of education selects a Teacher of the Year.  Nearly 140 educators in 77 school systems were nominated for the 2021-20 year.  These have now been narrowed to one elementary and one middle or high school teacher for each of the eight school board districts.

The winner will be named in August.  Here are the 16 finalists:

Julie Neidhardt, Hutches Elementary, Mobile County system

Krista Marcum, Gulf Shores High, Gulf Shores system

Sherlita Gilchrist, Phenix City Virtual Learning  Academy, Phenix City system

Kimberly Johnson, Auburn Junior High, Auburn city system

Allison Phelps, Shades Cahaba Elementary, Homewood city system

Pamela McClendon, Riverchase Career Connection Center, Hoover city system

Sabrina Wright, Sun Valley Elementary, Birmingham city system

Leah Hughes, Hillcrest High, Tuscaloosa County system

Catherine Jackson, Banks School, Pike County system

Lilian Zekeri, Tuskegee Institute Middle, Macon County system

Megan Kreitlein, Eden Elementary, Pell City system

Mashell Wehn, Arab High, Arab city system

Rachel Graves, Weeden Elementary, Florence city system

Jeff Schrupp, Hewitt-Trussville High, Trussville city system

Candilyn Holt, Elkmont school, Limestone County system

Kierstan Bell, Hampton Cove Middle, Huntsville city system

Congratulations to each of these, as well as to all who were nominated.  Without doubt, most of these teachers they have just gone through the most challenging time of their career.  They deserve far more appreciation from the people of this state than they will ever receive.