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Tennessee Department of Education Announces 2017-18 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Tennessee Department of Education Announces 2017-18 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Nine Finalists Move Forward for State Recognition, Will Serve on Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council


NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Education today announced the nine finalists for the 2017-18 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 and the Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group andannounced during an honorary banquet this fall.


"These teachers are our students’ heroes," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “Our educators have a direct, positive influence on students every day. And, because of educators like these nine finalists, Tennessee’s future is bright.”


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. The nine finalists for 2017-18 Tennessee Teacher of the Year are:  


    West Tennessee


CORE Region





Stephanie Rice

Crosswind Elementary

Collierville Schools


Mandy Fraley

Northeast Middle

Jackson-Madison County Schools


Carol Nanney

McKenzie Elementary

McKenzie Special School District


    Middle Tennessee


CORE Region




Mid Cumberland

Cicely Woodard

West End Middle

Metro Nashville Public Schools

South Central

Chelle Daniels

West Middle

Tullahoma City Schools

Upper Cumberland

Rebecca Ryan

White County High

White County Schools


    East Tennessee


CORE Region





Kristin Burrus

Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences

Hamilton County Department of Education

East Tennessee

Karen Latus

Bearden High

Knox County Schools

First Tennessee

Nancy Miles

South Side Elementary

Johnson City Schools



These finalists will have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council for duration of the 2017-18 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 2018-19 school year.



For more information on the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program, visit the department’s website or contact Debby Muskar, director of human capital strategy, at Debra.Muskar@tn.gov. For media inquiries,contact Sara Gast, director of strategic communications and media, at (615) 532‐6260 or Sara.Gast@tn.gov.

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