Five educators receive recognition for their dedication and leadership

By | May 13, 2019 7:23 am

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By Rachel Auberger

The Teacher of the Year program annually recognizes and honors outstanding educators throughout the state of Tennessee.

The mission of the program is to applaud teachers who care about children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee students, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement.

School-level Teachers of the Year are selected by their peers. A district selection committee reviews the school-level award recipients and selects one teacher from each category as the district level Teacher of the Year.

According to Kurt Dronebarger, director of schools for White County, the state actually rewards Teacher of the Year candidates in three categories (Pre K- 4, 5-8 and 9-12) as well as Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year.

The Principal of the Year honor and the Supervisor of the Year honor are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated superior abilities in managing and motivating students and faculties, evoked high standards, demonstrated a commitment to excellence, and implemented innovative programs.

The district level Teacher of the Year honorees for White County are Tammy Hickey, of Findlay Elementary; Crystal Summers, of Northfield Elementary; and  Kim Eller, a teacher at White County High School. Sara Cope, of BonDeCroft Elementary has received the honor of being the district level Principal of the Year, and Angela Fresh, elementary curriculum, is being honored as Supervisor of the Year.

“Mrs. Hickey is an exceptional teacher who is always working to ensure that her students are provided with not only the best education, but also the most positive school experience possible,” said Rebecca Ryan, principal at Findlay Elementary. “She comes to work each day with a can-do attitude and is not afraid to challenge herself with new approaches to teaching. Mrs. Hickey is truly an asset to Findlay Elementary.”

“Northfield is blessed to have Crystal Summers as a fifth-grade teacher,” according to Beth Peek, principal at Northfield Elementary. “She plans and teaches exciting lessons so her students can experience science and social studies first hand.  Mrs. Summers believes that all students can learn and works to find ways to assist students at all levels.  Mrs. Summers is a class act, and Northfield is pleased to recognize her as our teacher of the year.”

Grant Swallows, principal at White County High School, had great things to say about the STEM education teacher and ninth through 12th grade teacher of the year honoree.

“Mrs. Eller is a great representative of a White County High School,” said Swallows. “Her passion for teaching translates into a love of learning for her students. In Mrs. Eller’s classroom, the students learn in a hands-on environment. She is also a leader among her peers. Therefore, there is no question as to why they nominated her as teacher of the year. I am proud of the example Mrs. Eller sets for White County High School.”

“There is not a harder working individual than Mrs. Angela Fresh at the board of education,” Dronebarger said about the Supervisor of the Year honoree. “Her dedication to serving the students and teachers of this county is second to none. I am so proud of the effort and energy she brings as a curriculum supervisor each and every day. Mrs. Fresh is consummate professional and most worthy of the accolades she receives.”

Fresh had several positive things to say about the Principal of the Year honoree, Sara Cope.

“Mrs. Sara Cope has done an amazing job as the principal of BonDeCroft Elementary,” said Fresh. “Her practices with early literacy have become a model for the entire district, and she has led by example while improving school culture. She continues to learn and grow as a leader and challenges her students and staff to do the same. White County is proud of Mrs. Sara Cope as our Principal of the Year.”

“This collection of honorees is but a sample of the excellence that is found in our school district,” Dronebarger concluded. “These individuals always put students first and seek no recognition for themselves. I consider it an honor to serve with such fine professionals, and I congratulate them on this most-deserved accomplishment.”

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