Pedersen teaches biology, biotechnology and chemistry in the school’s Academy of Science, Research and Medicine. He said he was “both honored and excited to bring this recognition to the Paulding County School District.”
“There are so many dedicated educators and amazing things happening in our schools and I am proud to represent our county on the state level,” Pedersen said. “I am eager to move forward in the final selection process and it is a privilege to represent Paulding County Schools.”
An Indiana native, Pedersen has taught for nine years at Paulding County High. Before moving to Dallas, Pedersen worked as a marine biologist and taught at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
His wife, Tricia, is a science teacher at East Paulding High School, while his father taught science for 40 years in Indiana, Pedersen said.
State School Superintendent John Barge announced the names of the 10 finalists on April 7. They were chosen from a pool of 156 applicants who were selected as the teacher of the year in their school districts.
Over the next several weeks, a panel of judges will conduct video observations and interview each of the 10. They also will give speeches April 25 at a luncheon sponsored by Georgia Power at its Atlanta headquarters.
The winner will be announced during a banquet May 16 at the Georgia International Convention Center. The sponsor-funded banquet will honor each local district teacher of the year. A reception hosted by United Healthcare will be held prior to the banquet.
A panel of judges that included current and former classroom teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, administrators, community leaders and others read the applications. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses, as well as the teacher’s educational philosophy and community involvement, Pedersen said.