Michael Kobito

Elated, but not surprised; that is the sentiment from the Bartow County community surrounding the recent announcement stating Woodland High School Teacher and Band Director Michael Kobito is one of only ten teachers in the state chosen as a finalist for Georgia Teacher of the Year!

“My first reaction to reading the email was an elevated heart rate, first fueled by excitement, then doubt on whether this was real, all followed by a mix of pride and nerves,” said Kobito.

“What a tremendous honor for one of our most preeminent teachers,” added Bartow County School System Superintendent Dr. Philip Page. “As far back as our records date, which is more than two decades, we have not seen a teacher advance to this elite level. We are so proud of Mr. Kobito and the work he’s doing at his alma mater. The marching band is well known for its accolades, and I know students are excited to perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade next year under Mr. Kobito’s leadership. Students say, ‘the way he teaches changes lives.’ We believe that statement wholeheartedly because we’ve seen it.”

Kobito is a native of Cartersville and proud Woodland High School alumnus. He also graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia in 2015 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education. Kobito served as a drum major in the Redcoat Marching Band and president of the Collegiate National Association for Music Education before taking on teaching roles at WHS. 

“My goal as a teacher has always been to give my kids a chance to learn and be successful, just like my most impactful teachers did to me,” said Kobito. “I want my kids to find pride in who they are and who they are becoming while in our school. To be recognized as the Teacher of the Year at my alma mater has been a special experience for me personally because it showed some validation that my goal was coming to fruition. The recognition from the school system was special because I felt like I was representing Woodland well. Now, to be selected as State Finalist...that's huge! I am so proud to represent our school and county, not only as a graduate of our school system, but as a teacher in it.”

According to the Georgia Department of Education, 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. The 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year will serve as an ambassador for the teaching profession in Georgia and will be entered in the National Teacher of the Year competition. Georgia Teacher of the Year operates one year ahead to align with the national program; the 2023 Teacher of the Year will serve from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023.