It was a Church Hill sweep as teachers from Church Hill Elementary, Church Hill Middle and Volunteer High took top honors in each of the three top categories.
CHES fourth grade teacher Mindy Frazier was named the Teacher of the Year for grades K-4; CHMS eighth grade teacher Rhonda Richards was named Teacher of the Year for grades 5-8; and VHS CTE teacher for grades 9-12 Kevin Hilton was High School Teacher of the Year.
“The Board of Education and I am so proud of all of our teachers,” said Director of Schools Matt Hixson. “The Teacher of the Year recognition, put on by our amazing personnel team, is our opportunity to celebrate teachers chosen by their peers as the cream of the crop. The teachers recognized this year are those who go above and beyond to ensure each and every student who passes through their classroom doors will be supported and challenged to accomplish their very best. I am blessed to work with these amazing educators each and every day.”
Each teacher honored was asked to complete a questionnaire, with the results to be included in a program for Tuesday’s event. Here are some brief excerpts of the information each of the three top teachers shared.
Frazier is a 2010 graduate of East Tennessee State University and has nine years of teaching experience. She teaches fourth grade math and science at CHES.
“I create very intricate and data driven lesson plans that follow all components of the TN Team Rubric and Learning Focused Non-negotiables, present information to ALL students in a fun, yet clear and easy to understand way, and differentiate my instruction and learning styles to be able to reach all students. Data and progress are tracked throughout the year by students, myself, and administration to demonstrate mastery of standards from the Tennessee Department of Education and ensure that all students are college or career ready.”
“I have created a healthy and positive classroom environment conducive to productive learning for all students where mutual respect and patience is exhibited. I consistently reinforce school and classroom rules with my students, monitor groups in the morning, afternoon, and during transitions to help all students become the best they can be.”
“I consistently and frequently communicate with parents through many platforms to ensure we are all focused on being diligent stakeholders in the education of ALL students. Parents are always informed on what is going on at school, in our classroom, and what students are learning. I consistently and frequently communicate with teachers, peers, students, and administration.”
Richards earned her B.A. at ETSU in 2001 and graduate degrees at ETSU and Lincoln Memorial in 2004, 2007 and 2016.
She has 18 years of teaching experience and teaches eighth grade English/language arts at CHMS.
“One of the most important classroom practices is formative assessment. Not only does it give me information on how my students are mastering standards, but it also gives students the ability to practice skills without worrying about making mistakes. I credit this strategy with helping my struggling learners to achieve academic growth. While all of my students made achievement gains last year, my lowest achievement group made the most gains of the three achievement groups. One way that I incorporate formative assessment is through quick writes. I provide students a prompt related to a text that we have read, and we write for a few minutes. This writing doesn’t have to be perfect since we are just getting our ideas down. By reading the quick writes, I can quickly identify which students have misunderstandings.”
Hilton is a 2000 graduate of ETSU and has four years of teaching experience. Aside from teaching CTE (Career Technical Education) classes at Volunteer, he also teaches criminal justice.
“Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.’ This has been my motto for my classes since I left the criminal justice system as a probation officer and began teaching at Volunteer High School five years ago. It did not take me long to understand that I wasn’t teaching content, which I had plenty of experience in, 13 years to be precise. Rather quickly, I realized that I was teaching students and needed to discover ways to engage each student, to have them not only listen and forget, or for some short time remember for a test, but to activate their potential by involving them in the content. This lead me in creating Hand-On Fridays, which students take an active part in learning a skill that is used in the criminal justice system.”
“I believe developing the hands-on approach has created high levels of growth and learning for all my students. Involving and engaging my students has had tremendous effect on each student. I see willingness to participate, an interest to achieve and most importantly an eagerness to learn.”
The rest of the best
The other 2018-2019 Hawkins County K-4 Teachers of the Year include: Bethany Musslewhite, Bulls Gap School; Amie Lawson, Carters Valley Elementary; Susan Seals, Joseph Rogers; Primary; Tiffany Rogers, Keplar Elementary; April Stovall, McPheeter’s Bend Elementary; James Laney, Mooresburg Elementary; Kim McCann, Mount Carmel Elementary; and Jessica Hurd, Surgoinsville Elementary.
The other 2018-2019 Hawkins County 5-8 teachers of the year include: Carla Roberts, Church Hill Intermediate; Josh Lawson, Clinch School; Leslie Miller, Hawkins Elementary; Andy Hipshire, Rogersville Middle; Jessica Jones, St. Clair Elementary; and Norman Cody Sauceman, Surgoinsville Middle.
Dawn Hagy was Cherokee High School’s Teacher of the Year.