Tennessee Announces Statewide Teacher of the Year Finalists

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) announced Thursday the nine finalists for the statewide Teacher of the Year award.

“The nine finalists represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area,” according to the TDOE. “The 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and winners for each grand division of the state, will be selected from this group and announced during an honorary banquet this fall.”

The following is the list of regional finalists:

  • Shelby County/Municipals: Melissa Collins – John P. Freeman Optional School
  • Southwest: Robert Sparks – Jackson Central-Merry Early College High School
  • Northwest: Kerry Newsom – Dyersburg Primary School
  • Mid Cumberland: Kim Inglis – Black Fox Elementary
  • South Central: Rachel Porter – Learning Way Elementary
  • Upper Cumberland: Aleta Apple – Woodland Park Elementary School
  • Southeast: Kristin Burrus – STEM School Chattanooga
  • East Tennessee: Margaret Bright – Lenoir City Elementary School
  • First Tennessee: Meg Foster – Elizabethton High School

TDOE Commissioner Penny Schwinn congratulated the finalists.

“Educators are the backbone of Tennessee schools and communities, and have continued to demonstrate their dedication, professionalism, and unmatched passion to educating our students,” she said. “I am proud to recognize these nine teachers who have gone above and beyond to ensure Tennessee students are set up for success.”

Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition for the 2022-2023 school year. The award is given in April.

Morgan Rankin of Johnson City Schools was last year’s Teacher of the Year in Tennessee.

“A proud educator, Rankin is dedicated to teaching, leadership, and lifelong learning. Rankin serves as an active member of the Technology Teacher Leaders in Johnson City Schools through which she mentors other educators on the use of technology in the classroom,” TDOE said at the time.

“She is also a founding member of the Blue Ridge Literacy Project, an initiative dedicated to delivering professional development in research-based literacy practices to Tennessee teachers. Dedicated to building student relationships and instilling a love of learning in her students, Rankin is also the founder of South Side School’s Genius Hour, an inquiry-based learning club for students modeled after Google’s 20% Project.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Rachel Porter” by Learning Way Elementary. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.


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3 Thoughts to “Tennessee Announces Statewide Teacher of the Year Finalists”

  1. Ms Independent

    Can’t trust teachers, principals, and especially school board anymore. Extremely sad.

  2. Linda V Murphy

    Congratulations to Mr. Sparks! JCM-ECH students, parents and staff are proud of you! We know you will represent our school proudly.

  3. Freddie Clayton

    If any of these teachers think Cohen is a good person, they are wrong!