Caraballo is Ga Teacher of the Year Finalist!

Vidalia City Schools Teacher of the Year Julie Caraballo

J.R. Trippe Middle School’s Julie Caraballo has been selected as a Top Ten Finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year! According to an announcement from State School Superintendent Richard Woods today, Caraballo was chosen from a pool of applicants, all previously selected as their school district’s Teacher of the Year.


The applications were read by a panel of judges that included teachers, past Georgia Teacher of the Year winners, state and local administrators, community leaders, and others. The finalists were chosen based on the strength of their essay responses. 


“The ten finalists for Georgia’s next Teacher of the Year represent the very best of our state’s public education system,” Superintendent Woods said. “They are hardworking, innovative, skilled, and – most importantly – focused first and foremost on students. I am immensely proud of each of them and honored to recognize them as finalists.” 


“I am in complete shock,” said Caraballo. “To be honest with you, I wanted to do my best and represent Vidalia City Schools, but I thought with all these wonderful teachers around the state, there was no way I was going to make the Top Ten. I did not expect this.”


Trippe Principal Dr. Sandy Reid said that the rest of the state now knows what the people who know Caraballo already knew. “Being selected as 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year Top Ten Finalist is an affirmation of what we already knew! Mrs. Caraballo is a tremendous asset to our students, school, and community, and teachers like Mrs. Caraballo make huge differences in the lives of our students and their families. It is pretty unbelievable when you think about her representing Vidalia City in a group that represents the best of the best out of the population of educators in the state of Georgia. 


Caraballo is the first Vidalia Teacher of the Year to be selected as a Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist, “I feel honored,” said Caraballo. “But I also feel that there is a huge responsibility on my shoulders to represent our system well. I work with so many amazing teachers, and I can’t believe they can pick just one from our school. But then, to be selected as a Top Ten in the state is an absolute honor. 


“We are beyond excited for Julie to be a top 10 finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year!” Vidalia Assistant Superintendent Ginger Morris said. “She represents all we strive for as educators. Her passion in the mission and vision of Vidalia City Schools is seen in her love of teaching as well as seeing students excel in and out of the classroom. If chosen as the Georgia Teacher of the Year, she will embrace the task with the same enthusiasm and confidence we see daily in the classroom. We wish her the best of luck knowing the real winners are the students who call her Teacher each day!” 


The top ten finalists will meet with a panel of judges this month for formal interviews and speeches. The winner will be announced on April 30, 2022.


2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by last name) 


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


Katlyn “Katie” Blum, Second Grade Teacher, Sugar Hill Elementary Schools, Gwinnett County Public 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 

Michael Kobito, AP Music Theory Teacher and High School Band Director, Woodland High School, Bartow 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