Georgia Cyber Academy Teacher Recognized by National Parent Organization

Parent-led organization holds annual online competition to honor innovative teachers at charter, virtual, or magnet schools

May 06, 2013, 13:31 ET from

ARLINGTON, Va., May 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --, a national alliance of parents that supports and defends parents' rights to access the best public school options for their children, today announced that Georgia Cyber Academy teacher Mary Michael Pontzer has been named a national runner-up in the coalition's annual American Pioneer of Teaching competition. Thousands of students, parents and teachers from across the country cast online votes through Facebook to determine the winner of the award, which is held each year in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week.

The American Pioneer of Teaching competition recognizes top performing K-12 teachers who work in nontraditional public schools, such as virtual, charter and magnet schools. In addition to awarding Agora Cyber Charter School teacher Andrew Rinaldi as the national winner, Ohio Connections Academy teacher Dan Wakefield, Georgia Cyber Academy teacher Mary Michael Pontzer and Arizona Virtual Academy teacher Nicole Kessler-Snook were named national runners-up.  Information about the winner and 10 finalists is available on's competition Facebook page.

"With each year that passes and each innovative school that opens to meet the individualized learning needs of students, we learn more about the creative and innovative ways teachers are helping students succeed.  Just like their colleagues in traditional public schools, these state-certified teachers are dedicated to educational excellence and student success," said President Beth Purcell. "As a former teacher, parent and leader of a nationwide organization that represents the voice of parents, it is an honor to recognize teachers who help make a variety of public school options available." 

Hundreds of teachers from across the country were nominated through the website.  The Board selected 10 national finalists through an anonymous scoring system which awarded points for harnessing innovative teaching methods, adapting teaching methods to meet the needs of individual students, fostering mentoring relationships with students and overall dedication. The finalists where posted on the Facebook page where members of the public cast their votes for their favorite teacher candidate from April 24 - May 2. is a national alliance of parents, students and teachers that supports and defends parents' rights to access the best public school options for their children.  The organization advocates for the growth and expansion of these schools and for policies that support open enrollment and free and equal access to these public school options for all children without restrictions.