Meet Georgia’s 2023 Teacher of The Year

Michael Kobito, an AP Music Theory teacher and high school band director at Woodland High School in the Bartow County School System, is the 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

State School Superintendent Richard Woods announced the selection of Kobito at a banquet held tonight in LaGrange to celebrate all district Teachers of the Year.

“Michael Kobito is an outstanding educator who exemplifies both student-centered decision-making and the role of the fine arts in providing a world-class education to students,” Woods said. “I’m proud to recognize him as the 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year, and look forward to working with him to elevate the teaching profession and advocate for Georgia’s public schools.”

As Director of Bands at Woodland High School, Kobito oversees and manages four concert bands, a 200-member marching band, a basketball pep band, a private lessons institute, jazz band, and winter guard. Under his direction, the marching band has been invited to march in the National Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C. and the London New Year’s Day Parade in 2023.

Kobito also teaches AP Music Theory at Woodland High School; after his first year teaching the course, he had a 100 percent test participation rate and a 100 pass rate on the AP exam.

From the first day students enter the band room, Kobito encourages them to strive for excellence, and to view every day as “an opportunity, not an obstacle, to reaching their potential.”

“We teach in a world that forces kids to be comparative to the point of detriment, whether it be through social media, online entertainment, or other factors that increase the level of scrutiny for what would usually be considered missteps,” Kobito wrote in his Georgia Teacher of the Year application. “Many of the students in our classes are afraid to try because they feel they aren’t as smart or skilled as their peers. In my classroom, from the very start, I reinforce our classroom philosophy: every student’s contribution is important, and every student can learn.”

Kobito is a graduate of the University of Georgia, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree at Georgia College and State University.

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Kobito will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia, speaking to the public about the teaching profession and serving as an ex-officio member of the State Board of Education. He will also participate in the competitive selection process for the 2023 National Teacher of the Year.

Runner-Up: Katie Blum, Gwinnett County Public Schools

Katie Blum, a second-grade teacher at Sugar Hill Elementary School in Gwinnett County Public Schools, is the runner-up for 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Blum graduated from the University of Tennessee with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In 2020, she graduated from Georgia College and State University with her Specialist Degree in Teacher Leadership. In addition to teaching second grade, Blum is a co-leader of the new Teacher Mentoring Program at Sugar Hill Elementary and a mentor to second-year teachers.

2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists

Finalists are listed in alphabetical order by last name, with the exception of the Teacher of the Year and Runner-Up.

Michael Kobito, 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year – Band Director & AP Music Theory Teacher, Woodland High School, Bartow County School System

Katie Blum, 2023 Runner-Up – Second Grade Teacher, Sugar Hill Elementary School, Gwinnett County Public Schools

Ashley Anglin, First Grade Teacher, Elm Street Elementary School, Rome City Schools

Julie Caraballo, Seventh Grade Language Arts Teacher, J.R. Trippe Middle School, Vidalia City Schools

Laura Floryance, First Grade Teacher, Sawyer Road Elementary School, Marietta City Schools

Susan Howard, K-5 STEM Teacher, Lanier School for Inquiry, Investigation, and Innovation, Hall County Schools

Vicki Knox, Fifth Grade Mathematics Teacher, Deer Chase Elementary School, Richmond County School System

Chelsea Leming, Fifth Grade Teacher, Indian Knoll Elementary School, Cherokee County School District

Lisa Seegar, Fifth Grade Science Teacher, Britt David Magnet Academy, Muscogee County School District

Jesse Smith, CTAE Teacher, Rockdale Career Academy, Rockdale County Public Schools

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