2015 Teacher Of The Year Finalists Include Cleveland Teacher

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Tennessee Department of Education announced the finalists for the 2014-15 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Award, including one from Cleveland, Tn. The nine finalists are elementary, middle, and high school educators from each Grand Division of the state. Grand Division winners and the Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group and announced later this fall.

"Teachers are the biggest factor in the success of our students, and it is an honor to celebrate educators that are helping their students grow," Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said. “We celebrate these finalists, but also the thousands of dedicated educators across the state.”

These finalists will have the opportunity to join the commissioner’s inaugural Teacher Advisory Council. Members of this new body will offer insight, feedback, and advice on issues that impact teachers across the state.

“Seeking feedback and advice from our Teacher of the Year finalists is a critical step in ensuring that we are learning from and listening to teachers from all regions of our state,” Commissioner Huffman said.

The nine finalists for 2014-15 Teacher of the Year are:

West Tennessee

CORE Region





Karen Vogelsang

Keystone Elementary

Shelby County


Rebecca McBride

Brighton High

Tipton County


Kerri Newsom

Margaret Newton Elementary

Lake County

Middle Tennessee

CORE Region




Mid Cumberland

Tracy Harmon

Franklin High

Williamson County

South Central

Chris Simpson

Ingram Sowell Elementary

Lawrence County

Upper Cumberland

Shannon Streett

Woodbury Grammar

Cannon County


East Tennessee

CORE Region





Cecily Williams

Cleveland Middle

Cleveland City

East Tennessee

Heather Burkhart

Pigeon Forge Middle

Sevier County

First Tennessee

Ashley Carter

John Adams Elementary

Kingsport City

The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and is an ambassador for education throughout the year. To qualify, candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least five years, have a proven record of using creative, research-based teaching strategies resulting in measurable achievement, and be effective school and community leaders. A panel of professional educators from across the state scored applications to identify these finalists.

For more information, please contact Kelli Gauthier at (615) 532-7817 or Kelli.Gauthier@tn.gov.

Merit Badge College Held At Chattanooga State

Now in its 17th year, Chattanooga State Community College sponsored the annual Merit Badge College for 155 Boy Scouts and 40 Boy Scout leaders from the Cherokee Area Council on March 17. This day-long event provided an opportunity for scouts to earn one of 15 badges focused on STEM-related activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Scouts had a choice ... (click for more)

Woolfitt Awarded Plattner Award For Poetry

Dr. William Woolfitt, assistant professor of creative writing at Lee University, has won the Appalachian Heritage Denny C. Plattner Award in Poetry for his poem “Glassworks Hot Room as Pentecostal Church.”  Kenneth and Elissa May Plattner established the Denny C. Plattner Awards in 1995 to honor their late son, Denny, and his love for writing. The awards are presented to ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Debating Future Of Mountain Center; Vice Mayor Gee Goes Off Council After Marrying And Moving Out Of Town Limits

A discussion regarding the Mountain Arts Community Center lease and memorandum of agreement with a non- profit organization that has been formed with a proposed to manage it took place at the Signal Mountain town council meeting Friday afternoon. City Manager Boyd Veal had created a document for the purpose of starting a discussion and to identify how the council would like to move ... (click for more)

Students OK After Bag Containing Meth Found At Nolan Elementary

Officials say students at Nolan Elementary School on Signal Mountain are okay after discovering a bag that contained meth. The incident happened on Friday afternoon during a reading fair.  Principal Dr. Shane Harwood sent this message to parents: "Good Afternoon Nolan Families - We wanted to share some information related to an event that has taken ... (click for more)

Food Trucks Steal From Property And Rent-Paying Eateries - And Response

According to minutes of the City Council’s  Economic Development Committee and several local news articles, Chattanooga’s City Attorney gave a food truck presentation. He explained to City Council that a new food truck ordinance was being drafted to allow use of mobile food trucks on public  property . He said Chattanooga’s current ordinance limited food trucks to parking ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

I don’t make much of a secret that I hated every single second of the short time I spent in college or that I never took a journalism class. Instead what I know about writing was taught by a far greater collection of experts than you can find on any college campus. Andy Rooney, for example, was a genius with a dry humor who lectured to me almost every Sunday night for about 30 years. ... (click for more)