RICHMOND, CO., Ga. (WJBF) – Wednesday, Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods visited Deer Chase Elementary School to meet with a distinguished math teacher.

Vicki Knox is Richmond County School System’s Teacher of the Year, and she’s in the running for Georgia Teacher of the year. Of more than 110,000 teachers in the state, Knox is a top 10 finalist.

“Words can’t describe it. I’m just honored and to be in that league of teachers as he stated, all of the 10 finalists are outstanding,” Knox said.

Georgia State Superintendent Woods presented Knox with a distinguished service award.

“To say that you’re in the .009 percent. What does it take to get there? I think years of experience. This is not something that happens overnight,” Georgia State Superintendent Woods said.

Knox’s 21-year teaching journey is the second chapter in her career. She was successful in her Corporate America job, but decided to shift to teaching after her son was born.

“I thought, ‘Gee, I have to do something to maintain a life with my child.’ And so teaching it was. Who knew. It has been my greatest accomplishment and my greatest joy. It really has been,” Knox said.

Georgia State Superintendent Woods says it’s teachers like Knox and the other finalists who are improving public education in Georgia.

“They’re a very strong group. This group of 10, as I shared, you could put the names in a hat and draw and Georgia would be very pleased with any of these individuals,” Georgia State Superintendent Woods said.

On Saturday, April 30th, the 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year will be named.

Knox’s colleagues say she has a good shot at bringing the award back to Richmond County.

“I’m excited and I’m nervous and I’m a little scared. I have a host of emotions going on,” Knox said.