The Tennessee Department of Education Thursday announced the nine finalists for the 2018-19 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award. The finalists represent each Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) area in the state, with three finalists in each Grand Division (West, Middle, and East). Grand Division winners including the Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group and announced during an honorary banquet this fall, following a panel interview with each finalist.
Melissa Miller, a First Grade Teacher at Franklin Elementary, is one of the nine finalists. Franklin Elementary is part of the Franklin Special School District.
“Teaching is some of the hardest, most rewarding work there is, and because of our educators and their commitment to an excellent education for all, more Tennessee students are prepared for their next steps in school and in life,” Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “It is a great honor to recognize these educators from across our state for the ways each of them are proving what is possible in our classrooms. Because of teachers like these nine finalists, Tennessee will continue to be a national leader in student gains and outcomes.”
The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the year. To qualify, candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least three years, have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning, and be effective school and community leaders.
These finalists will have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council for duration of the 2018-19 school year. This council acts as a working group of expert teachers to provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the school year. Additionally, to provide continuity and leadership, the three Grand Division winners will continue their term during the 2019-20 school year.