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Rotary Teacher Awards
April Stipes receives Rotary Teacher Award
Posted on 09/15/2020
April Stipes, 2020 Rotary Teacher Award Winner

The Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN honored Bristol’s most outstanding teachers on Tuesday, September 15, during the 33rd annual Frank W. DeFriece, Jr. Teacher Awards in a virtual/drive-through celebration at the Bristol Train Station and broadcast on BTES Power 7 and Facebook Live.

Teachers were nominated from Bristol Tennessee City Schools and Bristol Virginia Public Schools with one teacher from each system being selected as the 2020 Rotary Outstanding Teacher. Schools from each district submitted a nomination packet that was then scored by an anonymous panel of nine judges composed of public educators and business representatives.

April Stipes, Fairmount Elementary School (BTCS), and Karen Branson, Stonewall Jackson Elementary School (BVPS), were this year’s winners. These outstanding teachers each earned a $3,000 cash award, a $1,000 donation for needed equipment to each teacher’s respective school, and a circulating plaque that will be on display at each school.

Ms. Stipes, who teaches third grade reading at Fairmount, was nominated by Kyle Evans, a parent. "My daughter often says Ms. Stipes is her favorite teacher and the transformation that took place during the time she had Ms. Stipes as her teacher was astounding," Evans said. "My daughter's attitude towards school not only improved drastically, but her overall attitude and well-being was remarkable as well. I consider Mrs. Stipes to be one of those transformational teachers in the life of my daughter, and the influence she has on her will last a lifetime."

 A colleague stated, April has high expectations for her students. She is so proud of her students’ successes and shares those with me. I specifically remember her being so excited about a student project that she had tears in her eyes telling me about it.” 

Teachers also earning nominations from BTCS included Shannon Morey, Avoca; Christine Booher, Anderson; Jennifer Hawthorne, Haynesfield; Tammy Chandler, Holston View; Michelle Phillips, Tennessee High; and Whitney Maddox, Vance. 

Each nominee received a $500 cash award.

Signature sponsors for the Rotary Outstanding Teacher Awards include Ballad Health, Bank of Tennessee, Bill Gatton Automotive Group, Bristol Herald Courier (Media Sponsor), Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, Burwil Construction Company, Citizen’s Bank, Evergreen Title and Closing, First Bank and Trust,  HVAC, Inc., Johnson Commercial Development, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, Rotary Club of Bristol VA/TN, Strongwell Corporation, and United Southeast Federal Credit Union.

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