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Tennessee Department of Education announces 2015 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Names Them to Inaugural Advisory Council

Tennessee Department of EducationNashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Education is proud to announce the finalists for the 2014-15 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Award.

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 Teacher School District
Memphis/Shelby Karen Vogelsang Keystone Elementary Shelby County
Southwest Rebecca McBride Brighton High Tipton County
Northwest Kerri Newsom Margaret Newton Elementary Lake County

Middle Tennessee

CORE Region Teacher School District
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 Teacher School District
Southeast 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 .


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