ROGERSVILLE - If children are the future, the architects of that future for Hawkins County are its teachers - several of whom were honored Tuesday evening for being the best of the best.
Hawkins County Schools held its third annual Teachers of the Year ceremony, honoring one teacher from each school in the county as being the best for 2006-07.
In addition, three teachers were selected overall Hawkins County Teacher of the Year - one elementary school teacher, one middle school teacher and one high school teacher.
Director of Schools Clayton Armstrong frequently became misty eyed as he handed out Teacher of the Year awards for the last time before he retires next month.
Although only a handful of teachers were recognized during Tuesday's ceremony, Armstrong noted that the county's teaching staff as a whole is to be commended for its dedication and the academic improvements that have been reflected in recent state testing scores.
"The heart of our school system is our classroom teachers and here in Hawkins County we are truly blessed to have such outstanding teachers who work small miracles every day in our classrooms," Armstrong said at the outset of the ceremony.
Each teacher received a plaque for being named Teacher of the Year at his or her individual school, and then the three teachers chosen as overall recipient in their category received an additional plaque.
The overall elementary teacher was Glenda Livesay from Mount Carmel Elementary School. Livesay has worked 34 years in the Hawkins County school system.
Each teacher was asked to make a few comments prior to the ceremony, and those comments were printed in a booklet that every attendee received.
In her comments Livesay said, "I have been blessed to teach in three different school settings. I consider it a great accomplishment as former students return or see me shopping and hug me and tell me of memories they had as students. Now I consider it a privilege when many of those same students introduce me to their children and seem pleased to have me educate them."
Overall middle school teacher of the year was Katherine Gibbons of Rogersville Middle School. Gibbons has taught for 31 years, 22 at RMS.
In her comment Gibbons said, "I tell the students of my past dislike of math and that I never thought that I would be teaching it now. I feel that I can relate to those who don't like or do well in math and encourage them not to give up. I am proud of my students and the effort they put forth."
The overall high school teacher of the year was Denise McKee, who has been at Clinch School for seven years.
In her comment Gibbons said, "I am a high school history teacher. History is being made every day, and as a teacher I can contribute to the change. Teachers have the ability to make a student's worst day into their best day. Unfortunately, the opposite is true, too. I choose to be the positive factor."
Among the other teachers honored as their individual elementary school's teacher of the year were Jeaquetta Collins of Carters Valley Elementary; Joan Gardner of Church Hill Elementary; Deborah Renner of Hawkins Elementary; Janice Morgan of Joseph Rogers Primary; Karen Sizemore of Keplar Elementary; Angela Smith of McPheeters Bend Elementary; Regina Howard of Mooresburg Elementary; Carolyn Rogers of St. Clair Elementary; and Patsy Allen of Surgoinsville Elementary.
The other middle school teachers of the year were Joan Greene of Bulls Gap School; Michelle Harless of Church Hill Middle; and Amy Kenner of Surgoinsville Middle.
The other high school teachers honored included Linda Cop and Justin Nelson of Cherokee and Christy Free and Jeff Smith of Volunteer.