Riverview Middle School's assistant principal was recently named best in the state by the Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals.
As the statewide winner, Kristi Gerrells is in the running for 2013 national assistant principal honors.
"This is really exciting and I'm just thrilled to be able to represent our county," she said. "It's an exciting time to be able to share what we are doing at Riverview Middle School and what we are doing in our county."
The National Association of Secondary School Principals, along with Virco Inc., annually selects a winner from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools.
Three national finalists are selected in January with the overall winner chosen in February at the group's national convention in Washington D.C.
"As school districts across the country struggle with filling school administrator positions, both principals and assistant principals, it becomes imperative that we highlight and honor the high flyers in the profession," said JoAnn Bartoletti, executive director of the national association.
"To shine a light on the work of a quality educator such as Kristi Gerrells [is] an honor."
A fifth-generation educator, Gerrells followed in the footsteps of her grandmothers, Rebekah Wilson and Louise Walls, and mother Elaine Wilson.
She has worked in the Dawson County school system for more than 20 years.
Superintendent Keith Porter praised Gerrells' innovative and creative approach to her role.
"Mrs. Gerrells is very deserving of this outstanding recognition," he said. "She was an excellent classroom teacher, who has brought the excellence that she demonstrated in the classroom to her position in administration.
"She is a fantastic educator who truly cares about the students and her colleagues."
The recognition, Porter said, is both an honor to Gerrells and to the school system.
"This being a statewide award selected by educators representing the entire state, it has to mean a great deal to Mrs. Gerrells as well as bringing honor to our school system," he said. "We are confident that she will do well in the national selection process as well."