Professional Educators of Tennessee held their annual conference Thursday – called Leader U – where they announced their statewide award winners.
“We are pleased to honor these well-respected educators that are making a difference in the lives of real students, while upholding the highest ethical standards and tireless promotion of our profession. Tennessee is a better place to learn, a better place to teach and a better place to raise a family because of the professional contributions of these educators,” the group’s Executive Director JC Bowman said in a statement.
This year’s top awards go to:
Natalie Beach – 2018 Teacher of the Year
Natalie Beach (pictured, center) teaches kindergarten at Prescott South Elementary School, a STEM platform school in Putnam County. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood and Special Education and an M.A. in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Tech University. Natalie Beach was Prescott South Elementary teacher of the year in 2017 and Rotary Teacher of the Year in 2015. Natalie lives in Cookeville with her husband, Jason, and their two children.
John Fanning – 2018 Administrator of the Year
John Fanning (pictured, left) is beginning his twenty-third year in education and his eighteenth in administration. Fanning is a native of Lincoln County and a 1990 graduate of Lincoln County High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN and two graduate degrees’ in administration from Tennessee State University.
Johnny McDaniel – 2018 Superintendent of the Year Johnny McDaniel
Johnny McDaniel (pictured, right), Lawrence County Director of Schools, oversees the scenic rural district of Lawrence County once home of David Crockett. The district is comprised of over 7000 students and thirteen schools. Under the leadership of McDaniel, the Lawrence County School System has implemented a rigorous strategic plan that includes an Early Literacy goal of 95% of all students reading on grade level by the end of third grade and remaining on or above grade level through the 12th grade and a High School and Bridge to Postsecondary goal of all students’ graduation from the Lawrence County School System with a diploma and completion of at least two Early Post-Secondary Opportunities. Mr. McDaniel’s service on the College and Career Readiness Board was instrumental in the district focusing upon this important work. He was also the Director of Schools for Bradley County Schools in Tennessee. Johnny McDaniel started his education career in his home state of Florida in 1990. He has been the recipient of numerous awards during his superintendent career, including 2013 Tennessee State Superintendent of the Year.
Glen Wolfenbarger – 2018 Advocate of the Year
Glen Wolfenbarger began student teaching Kindergarten and 5th Grade. He received his first job in January 2006 teaching 5th Grade in Hamblen County. He received his Education Specialist Degree in 2007 from Lincoln Memorial University and transferred to Jefferson County Schools in 2008 where he has remained until this present time. He has taught 4th & 5th Grades, became Principal of Talbott Elementary, and is currently back at his home school of Jefferson Elementary serving the school as the Assistant Principal. He serves on Carson Newman University’s Department of Education Advisory Committee, serves on the Jefferson County Truancy Review Board, is FEMA certified, a Tennessee School Safety Specialist, serves on the Jefferson County District Emergency Response Team, and is the Jefferson County Elementary County-Wide Field Day Coordinator.
In their statement, the group noted additional acknowledgements:
In addition, the association also recognized prominent Tennessee educators Dr. Connie Smith, Dr. Suzann Harris, Dr. Ron Woodard, and Senator Reginald Tate with their Friend of the Educator Award.
“Dr. Connie Smith is a legend in public education in the state of Tennessee, and beyond our borders” according to Bowman. Dr. Smith serves currently as State Director for AdvancED Tennessee.
Dr. Suzann Harris has served as Dean of the School of Education at Trevecca Nazarene University since 2012. “Dr. Harris has elevated the profile of Trevecca Nazarene University across the nation in her role as Dean and is instrumental in the lives of countless future educators” according to JC Bowman.
Dr. Ron Woodard is the assistant superintendent of instruction for Maury County Schools. “Ron has phenomenal background and expertise in the areas of developing climate and culture in schools, building capacity and effective teams, and school turnaround” declared Bowman.
State Senator Reginald Tate is the vice chair of the Senate Education Committee. “Senator Tate is an avid listener that is not afraid to fight for children and teachers in his role in the Tennessee Senate. He has an open-door policy that invites dialogue on education issues. We appreciate Senator Tate and are pleased to honor him” concluded Bowman.