FoCo Schools 2023 Teacher of the Year announced at Celebration of Excellence event

Justine Lookenott
Morgan O’Leary was named the 2023 Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year at the Celebration of Excellence ceremony on March 9Photo byJustine Lookenott

(Forsyth County, GA) The 2023 Forsyth County Schools (FCS) Teacher of the Year and other award winners were announced during the FCS’s Celebration of Excellence ceremony on Thursday, March 9.

Hosted by FCS, Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and Northside Hospital Forsyth, the event was held at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College.

After opening words from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden, Chamber President James McCoy gave a few remarks before acknowledging the event’s title sponsor.

Out of the several metro-Atlanta counties, Forsyth County has the highest CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index) scores, the highest graduation rate of 96 percent, the highest ACT and SAT scores and the highest financial efficiency rating of five out of five stars.

Compared to the 33 percent of adults in Georgia with bachelor's degrees, 55.9 percent of adults in Forsyth County hold bachelor's degrees.

“These statistics, that any county in the nation desires to have, do not happen by accident,” McCoy said. “They happen because of the people here today, and especially the partnerships between the chamber, the business community and the schools.”

Northside Hospital Forsyth was the title sponsor of the event.

Lynn Jackson, the chief operating officer of the hospital, said that the enthusiasm and modesty of the FCS staff were “contagious.”

“Every year you stand up in front of your classroom and you ask yourself ‘how am I going to take this group of students from where they are to where they need to be?’” Jackson said. “Because you believe that every student deserves a great education. You believe that every student has the capacity to learn. You believe that all students must be challenged to think critically and creatively and you believe that all students must be connected and supported.”

Morgan O’Leary was named the 2023 Teacher of the Year out of the seven finalists.

O’Leary earned her bachelor's degree from Wake Forest University and her master's degree from Piedmont University. She first started teaching at FCS in 2015 at Big Creek Elementary School and currently teaches at New Hope Elementary School.

In her speech, she thanked her administrators, fellow teachers and staff.

“I'm blown away daily by the relationships that have been built inside our building,” O’Leary said. “We have all worked together to build a school community where staff and students feel loved, safe, supported and connected and that is no easy feat…I’m hard-pressed to believe you will find a more dedicated, fun and encouraging group of people than inside our doors.”

O’Leary was awarded a year-long lease on a Chevrolet Equinox from Andean Chevrolet.

Several other award winners included:

  • Mentor of the Year: Corey Milford
  • Friend of the School: All for Lunch and Burlington
  • Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Saas Bhamla
  • Silver Program of the Year: Altrusa
  • Gold Program of the Year: RBM of Alpharetta and Vulcan Materials
  • Don Hendricks Partnership Award: Forsyth County Fire Department

Along with Northside Hospital Forsyth, the ceremony was also sponsored by Georgia United Credit Union, Georgia Power, Andean Chevrolet, Corner Farms, Brandywine Printing, Inc, UNG, Power Marketing and Printing, United Way of Forsyth County, CarShield, Central EMS, Statesman and Citizens Bank of Georgia.

If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact Justine Lookenott at

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I cover local news in Forsyth County, GA. My debut into the writing world began at the age of 10 when I won an essay contest in Around Acworth Magazine in which I wrote about spending the summer with my pet goat, Eclair. Since graduating from Kennesaw State University, I have been published in several newspapers and magazines in the Atlanta area including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta School Guide, What Now Atlanta, Newcomer Magazine, the Marietta Daily Journal and the Cherokee Tribune.

Forsyth County, GA

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