Hamilton County Schools honored its three teachers of the year on Friday at a special luncheon at STIR restaurant in Chattanooga. The three teachers of the year announced earlier in January are Sara Pratt, Apison Elementary; Michele Jones, Middle Valley Elementary; and Kristen Robertson, Signal Mountain Middle/High.
The teachers were honored by their school administration and presented with special certificates.
The luncheon was sponsored by the Chattanooga Area Schools Federal Credit Union. The three teachers will be honored at the Hamilton County Board of Education meeting scheduled for April 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Sara Pratt is in her fourth year of teaching, and she has spent all of that time at Apison Elementary School teaching fourth-grade. She considers herself as a facilitator of learning instead of someone who just imparts knowledge to the children in her class. In Ms. Pratt’s classroom, achievement starts with the culture of respect and authentic thinking she shares with her students. “Children find that in my class they will struggle with problems, but in that struggle there is growth,” said Ms. Pratt. “We celebrate this struggle and growth process by recognizing when our thinking has evolved as a result of learning.”
Michele Jones has taught fifth-grade a Middle Valley Elementary since beginning her teaching career in 2007. She has been a math and literacy teacher since 2016. She previously taught math, science, and social studies. Ms. Jones’ classroom practices and strategies have varied depending on the subject and group of students in her class, but high levels of growth and excitement for learning are constant. “During my first six years as a science and social studies teacher, I focused my teaching on hands-on experiments and discovery-based learning,” Ms. Jones said. “When I move to math, I continued to engage my students with discovery-based experiments and quickly realized that the method was also a highly effective strategy in math as well.”
Kristen Robertson is a ninth-grade English teacher at Signal Mountain Middle/High School and has been at the school since 2013. She has also taught eighth-grade language arts and previously taught at Soddy Daisy High. Ms. Robertson serves as a personal project instructor working with 25 students each year to complete their culminating personal project for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program. Building positive relationships and establishing a classroom environment with high expectations that encourages all students to embrace new challenges and academic risks is important to Ms. Robertson. “Teachers who form relationships see the most authentic growth and learning because their students know that their teachers believe in them and want to invest in their lives,” Ms. Robertson said. She builds relationships by meeting with eighth-grade teachers to discover her new ninth-graders interests in extra-curricular activities and strengths and weaknesses in academic subjects.