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Georgia’s Teacher of the Year will serve for extra year amid pandemic

Tracey Pendley, a fourth-grade teacher at Burgess-Peterson Academy in Atlanta Public Schools, is the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY OF APS
Tracey Pendley, a fourth-grade teacher at Burgess-Peterson Academy in Atlanta Public Schools, is the 2020 Georgia Teacher of the Year. PHOTO COURTESY OF APS

Georgia’s Teacher of the Year will continue her service for an extra year because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

Tracey Pendley, a fourth grade teacher at Atlanta's Burgess-Peterson Academy, has been serving as the state's Teacher of the Year since last spring.

Now, she’ll continue with those duties for an additional year.

Georgia Department of Education spokeswoman Meghan Frick said the decision was made to extend Pendley’s tenure because a new winner would have lost out on opportunities since schools remain closed and other events have been cancelled amid health and safety restrictions.

The teacher of the year frequently speaks at conferences and teacher events and also conducts workshops and programs. Frick said Pendley will continue to perform those duties as well as work with state officials to develop resources for teachers and students.

Pendley will continue to work at her school as a math instructional coach and reading intervention teacher. She’s also the school’s 4-H Club Advisor.

Under a normal schedule, the state’s 2021 teacher of the year would be announced this month. Frick said some school systems don’t finalize their district-level candidates until the spring and that process was interrupted by the pandemic.

The plan is to select the next award winner in the spring of 2021.