Congratulations TOTY Finalist

  • Nov 10, 2020

Congratulations to the six Gwinnett County Public Schools finalists for the district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year (TOTY) honor!


Your typical day in the classroom doesn’t involve balloons, celebratory signs, and a photographer and film crew. However, Nov. 9 wasn’t a typical day for these teachers who learned that they were among the six finalists for the district’s 2021 Teacher of the Year honor.

Congratulations to these honored teachers:

  • Lena Alonso of Lilburn ES—Special Education Teacher – Interrelated Resource (Grade 5)

  • Katie Blum of Sugar Hill ES—2nd Grade Teacher 

  • Kelley Donovan of Coleman MS—Humanities Teacher (Grade 6)

  • Julianne Purnell  of Five Forks MS—Health Teacher (Grades 6-8)

  • Philip Peavy of Paul Duke STEM HS—Cybersecurity and Game Design Teacher (Grades 10-12)

  • Danielle Swaby of South Gwinnett HS—Work-Based Learning Teacher (Grades 11 and 12)

The finalists were selected from a group of 25 semifinalists honored last month. The TOTY contest began with a field of 139 local school TOTYs named Oct. 2.


For the six finalists, the next step includes interviews and classroom observations by a selection committee made up of former TOTYs, administrators, and central office staff. Level winners and the county Teacher of the Year will be announced at a special event on Dec. 10.