The top five finalists for Harford County's 2016 Teacher of the Year award have been released, with the winner to be announced next month.

The finalists are: Amy Beighley, Darlington Elementary School special education teacher; Sharalyn Heinly, North Harford Middle School mathematics teacher, Grade 7; Kristine Jurgs, Southampton Middle School special education teacher; Deborah Mateer, Havre de Grace High School mathematics teacher; and Kimberly Wheeler, Magnolia Elementary School teacher, Grade 4.

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The five were selected by a judging committee from among nominations submitted by students, parents, administrators and community members, according to a Harford County Public Schools news release.

"The judging panel had a difficult and unenviable task again this year with many outstanding teachers nominated for the award," the news release notes. "Just to have been deemed worthy by a student, parent, administrator or community member to be Harford County's Teacher of the Year from among the nearly 3,000 teachers in the system is remarkable."

This year's Teacher of the Year Judging Committee reviewed and scored all nomination packets to determine a pool of candidates that participated in an interview with a panel of seven judges.

The judges narrowed the pool to the top five finalists, one of which will be named the 2016 Harford County Teacher of the Year.

The surprise announcement of the winner will take place at the annual Harford County Teacher of the Year Banquet on Wednesday, March 16, at the Bayou Restaurant in Havre de Grace.

Again this year, the banquet is being provided by the Bayou Restaurant and HAR-CO Credit Union, with many outstanding gifts for our finalists donated by Harford County businesses.

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