Teachers Of The Year Announced For Hamilton County Schools

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson surprised three of the best classroom teachers in Hamilton County on Tuesday as he announced their selection as a Teacher of the Year for the school system. The Teachers of the Year for 2018 are: Samantha Eaton, a kindergarten teacher at Red Bank Elementary, for elementary grades through fourth-grade; Jeanne Manley, exceptional education teacher at Nolan Elementary, for middle grades (fifth-grade through eighth); and Nader Mohyuddin, math teacher at Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts at the high school level.  These three exceptional teachers will now advance to the state level in the Teacher of the Year recognition for Tennessee.

Ms. Eaton has taught at Red Bank Elementary for the past five years, and she has nine years of teaching experience.  She considers herself a researcher and loves to search for answers to help her students learn.  Six years ago, she asked her school leader the question that started a new adventure for Red Bank and her kindergarten children.  She asked, “Have you ever heard of STEAM?”  That simple question was a launching point for innovative learning.

“Leaders from across the nation have visited our little school to see the amazing things happening here because of the adventure into learning that began that day,” Ms. Eaton said.  She is now leading forest kindergarten using science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) concepts to teach her young learners. 

Reading performance has been a consistent high point for student progress in her classroom.  At the beginning of the year, 14 of her students were reading below grade level, four were reading on grade level and one was above grade level.  December benchmarks showed those numbers completely flipped.  Now, only two students are below grade level, six are reading on grade level and 12 are reading above grade level.

“As I developed my forest kindergarten model, I found significant research on the impact that it would have on my students socially, emotionally and academically, but I never thought I would see the impact so quickly,” Ms. Eaton said.

Ms. Manley has taught at Nolan Elementary for the past seven years as an exceptional education teacher, and she has been a teacher in the classroom for 14 years.  Ms. Manley’s deep belief that every child can learn is what drives her each day in the classroom.  “I first learn about my student in meetings when they are not present by building a relationship with parents and service providers who can provide me with keys to building blocks of success for each child,” Ms. Manley said. “I listen to each parent’s hopes and dreams for their child and recognize my role in striving for that potential.”

Ms. Manley goes to great lengths to motivate her students to engage in learning. “I am not afraid of looking silly,” she said. “Requiring a student to be their best, finding what motivates each to learn, building their trust in me to lead them, and celebrating successes are all important steps in our journey together.” 

An example of Ms. Manley’s understanding of her student’s motivation came when the Special Olympics in which her students had trained to participate was canceled due to rain.  Ms. Manley sprang into action to hold a Nolan Olympics to let her students showcase their hard work preparing to compete. “I was not surprised when the entire school came together to celebrate the accomplishments of my students," she said. 

Mr. Mohyuddin has taught honors geometry, honors applied math and AP calculus for the last four years at Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts.  He has been teaching in the classroom for five years.  Mr. Mohyuddin puts the growth mindset front and center in his classroom where he fosters collaboration, allows students to make mistakes, and builds a strong sense of community among his students. 

“I remind students that a test is simply a measure of what they were able to show on a particular day and not a definitive judgment on their knowledge or skill,” Mr. Mohyuddin said. “On course evaluations, my students express strong agreement with the idea that their enthusiasm about math has increased as a result of our time together.” 

They also scored extremely well on standardized tests.  In 2015-16, 58.8 percent of his students were on track for the geometry end of course test, nearly triple the district rate.  In 2016-17, 52 percent scored on track while 20.4 percent scored at the mastered level. 

Mr. Mohyuddin helped Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts develop their application that led the school to be one of eight awarded Volkswagen eLabs recently.  His concept of what math students in his class could do studying the Tesseract (or hypercube) intrigued the selection committee.  “The Tesseract is a 4-dimensional polytope unable to exist in our realm but can nevertheless be projected into it akin to how a 3-D object can cast a flat shadow,” he said. “Designing and building a projection of a Tesseract in the VW eLab would help bridge traditional geometry to higher level modes of synthesis and engineering design for my students.” 

The Hamilton County Board of Education will honor the three winners at the February public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 15, and there will also be a special luncheon for the teachers in March to celebrate their accomplishment with family and friends.   

2017-18 Graduation Rate for Bradley County Schools Released

The Tennessee Department of Education released graduation rates for the graduating class of 2018. "Bradley County Schools has maintained steady graduation rates for the past few years. We did have an increase this year as we went from a graduation rate of 91.7 percent to a rate of 92.2 percent," officials said.  "This is above the state graduation rate of 89.1 percent, ... (click for more)

Chattanooga State Nursing And Allied Health Announce November Information Sessions

The Nursing and Allied Health Division at Chattanooga State offers monthly information sessions for students interested in the healthcare professions.  The sessions are held at the main campus; some sessions are required for program admittance, while others are strongly encouraged. Visit the Nursing and Allied Health website at http://www.chattanoogastate.edu/nursing-allied-health ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Has Biggest Month Yet; Work May Start Next Year On Parking Deck With 1,300 Spaces

The Chattanooga Airport set a record in September with 44,000 enplanements, the highest ever for one month. This was an increase of nine percent over September 2017, and deplanements were in line, said Terry Hart president and CEO. He said that more parking is needed near the terminal to keep up with the growth. The 20-year master plan includes a parking deck with around 1,300 ... (click for more)

Firefighters Climb 150 Feet To Extinguish Fire At Ardent Mills

Chattanooga firefighters had to climb 150 feet to extinguish a fire at a flour mill off Amnicola Highway on Monday morning. A call came in at  7:35 a.m. for the  fire at 1 Riverside Lane. Ardent Mills reported smoke in the building and all employees were evacuated. Fire crews arriving on the scene could see light smoke coming from a vent on the upper half ... (click for more)

Why Are Joda Thongnopnua And Phil Bredesen Downplaying Their Democratic Values?

For the past several months, the Democratic Party has reached a tipping point. “Their Resistance” is to oppose anything and everything Republicans are doing to deliver a stronger economy and better economic opportunities for all Americans.  Yet, I find it very interesting that the public outcry we are seeing from the Democrats on a national level is nowhere to be found when ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Tennessee Week’

For over 50 years I have heard the line, “There are two things you must never do on ‘The Third Saturday of October.’ You mustn’t ever marry and try not to die because, in either case, the preacher won’t show up.” He’ll be watching “The Game.” Ever since Oct 18, 1901, Tennessee and Alabama have been going at it and that inaugural game set the tone as well as the standard for all ... (click for more)