Schools Superintendent Gordon Pritz announced Backus as the winner during a ceremony as part of the second Foxhall Family Festival in south Douglas County.
Backus said he was “excited to be honored” after earlier being named high school teacher of the year, joining middle school teacher of the year Carol Lobban of Turner Middle School and elementary teacher of the year Drew Nesbitt of Beulah Elementary.
“It’s very surprising,” Backus said. “It’s nice to put your heart in something and be recognized for it.”
Judges observed the eight semifinalists at work in the classroom, and personally interviewed them before making their choice, officials said.
Backus teaches math to regular students as well as those who require extra attention to learn the subject. He said judges told him they liked the way he interacted with his students and the way he injected humor into his lessons.
The 31-year-old teacher has spent his entire career at Alexander after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of West Georgia.
“I work with great people and work at a fantastic school,” he said. “I have great mentors helping me out .... teaching me to be a great teacher.”
The math teacher follows in the recent tradition of Alexander teachers being named teacher of the year. Alexander science teacher Ryan Adams won the award in 2009, and Alexander history teacher Mike Bedosky won in 2010.
Backus won the use of a Chevy Cruze for the next year from John Thornton Chevrolet, a $2,500 check from Foxhall and prizes donated by local businesses.
He now is eligible to compete for Georgia teacher of the year. Pam Walker, 2006 Douglas County Teacher of the Year, won the statewide honor in 2007.
The teacher of the year was selected from among eight semifinalists. They included:
-High school semifinalists: Backus and Whitney Lester of Chapel Hill High School.
-Middle school semifinalists: Lobban and Tanganeki Shackleford of Stewart Middle School.
-Elementary school semifinalists: Nesbitt and Darien Carruth of Mason Creek Elementary School; Michelle Jacobs of Chapel Hill Elementary School and Erika Prewett of Lithia Springs Elementary School.
School-level teachers of the year, including the eight semifinalists, also were honored Saturday. They included Miranda Martin, Annette Winn; Kristina Glenn, Arbor Station; Jeanette Dutcher, Bill Arp; Kathryn Howard, Bright Star; Brandi Goldin, Burnett; Christal Wagner, Chapel Hill Middle; Sheila Watts, Chestnut Log; Richard Sills, Dorsett Shoals; Kyra Beris, Douglas County High; Jennifer Waits, Eastside; Lori Blevins, Factory Shoals Elementary; Brittany Morgan, Factory Shoals Middle; Robert Sheperd, Fairplay; Billy Carnes, Holly Springs; Arabela Haynes, Lithia Springs High; Suzanne Butler, Mason Creek; J.D. Hughes, Mirror Lake; Tim Jenkins, Mount Carmel; Terry Pino, New Manchester Elementary; McKeith Cordell, New Manchester High; Allison Morgan, North Douglas; Lisa Carruth, South Douglas; Casey Mullins, Sweetwater; Meredith McTyre, Winston and Tammy Jones, Yeager.