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Teacher of the Year 2024
Teacher of the Year 2024
Posted on 02/05/2024
Teachers of the Year

From eight districtwide nominees, three teachers were selected to represent Bristol Tennessee City Schools in this year’s state Teacher of the Year award. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors outstanding teachers in Tennessee. It is an opportunity to applaud teachers who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee students. 

 

All schools in Tennessee can nominate one teacher as a system finalist for grades PreK-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The three teachers selected from Bristol Tennessee City Schools are as follows: Andrea Powell, grades PreK-4; Ginger Davis, grades 5-8; and Amber Davis, grades 9-12. The comments each of them shared below about their motivations and passion for teaching provide greater insight into what makes them superstars in the classroom! 

 

PreK-4 District Finalist:

 

Andrea Powell

Position: Kindergarten, Avoca Elementary

Hometown: Bristol, TN

Family: Husband-Jason; Children-Trevor, Trent, Jarrett, and Kyra; Furbabies-Four Goldendoodles and a Yorkie

Education: Bachelor of Arts Elementary Education, Emory and Henry College; Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction, Tusculum University

Began Career at BTCS: 1999

 

I teach because it is all I have ever wanted to do—all I have ever dreamed of doing. My mother was a teacher, and some of my first memories include going to her classroom and playing school. When I finally hit the age for kindergarten and was able to go to Anderson Elementary, my kindergarten teacher, Kathy Whisman, set the tone for a future dream. By the time I left kindergarten and moved to first grade, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It is rare to know as a young child what you want to do with the rest of your life, but because of BTCS and the district’s amazing teachers, I did. I attended all my elementary years at Anderson, went on to Vance Junior High, and then to Tennessee High. After high school, I stayed close to home and attended Emory and Henry. I knew upon college graduation that I wanted to come back home and give back to the community that gave so very much to me. I was extremely blessed to find home at Avoca Elementary.

 

Kindergarten is the foundation for all future school experiences and is the place where students develop crucial skills for lifelong learning through educational hands-on experiences. I love watching students build relationships; learn kindness, understanding, and compassion; and grow to their academic and social potentials. My favorite part of kindergarten is the family atmosphere cultivated in my classroom where students celebrate, encourage, and rally behind their peers as they move from non-readers to readers. There is nothing greater than witnessing a community of five-year-olds celebrating a friend who independently reads their first book. It is so rewarding to know that all the time invested into lesson prep led this child to this amazing achievement. The joy and the excitement this growth brings is one of the most fulfilling parts of teaching kindergarten. The growth of kindergarten students from August to May and the relationships with students and their families that are built during those ten months are what keeps bringing me back to kindergarten.

 

I am inspired by all the BTCS teachers I had growing up as well as the ones I teach with today. Each previous teacher helped mold me into who I am and is a crucial part of my teaching journey. I give them much of the credit for my love of education and the desire to give back to my Bristol community. My BTCS colleagues today are the dedicated educators and inspirational figures that I learn new strategies from every single day. It is a true gift to be living my childhood dream and such a blessing to be part of a school community that supports each other and grows students into productive and successful adults.

 

 

5-8 District Finalist:

 

Ginger Davis

Position: 8th Grade Math, Tennessee Middle School

Hometown: Morristown, TN

Family: Ginger’s Chocolate Lab Kismet is her beloved traveling companion.

Education: Bachelor of Arts Mathematics (7-12), Tusculum College; Master of Mathematics, University of Tennessee

Began Career at BTCS: 2011

 

I teach because I believe in the power of education to transform lives. As a teacher, I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on my students, not just academically but also personally. Teaching allows me to inspire and empower students, helping them develop the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in their future endeavors. I am motivated by the idea of shaping young minds, guiding them towards their own personal growth and success.

 

What inspires me the most as a teacher is witnessing the spark of curiosity and the desire to learn in my students' eyes. I am constantly inspired by their enthusiasm and eagerness to explore new concepts and ideas. It is through their curiosity that I am reminded of the transformative power of education. The ability to foster this sense of curiosity and instill a love for learning is what inspires me to continuously strive for excellence in my teaching practice.

 

Teaching mathematics holds a special place in my heart. Mathematics is often regarded as a challenging subject, leading many students to develop a fear or disinterest in it. However, I see mathematics as a beautiful language that allows us to understand the patterns and structures of the world around us. My favorite thing about teaching mathematics is witnessing my students' growth in the subject. I find joy in guiding them through their mathematical journey, watching them gain confidence in their problem-solving abilities, and witnessing their breakthrough moments.

 

One teaching approach that I wholeheartedly embrace is discovery learning. I believe that students learn best when they actively engage in the learning process, exploring and discovering concepts on their own. By encouraging students to think critically and ask questions, discovery learning promotes a deeper understanding of the subject matter. It allows students to make connections and build their own knowledge, leading to meaningful and long-lasting learning experiences. One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is witnessing the "aha moments" that students have. These moments occur when a student suddenly grasps a challenging concept or solves a complex problem. It is during these moments that the joy of teaching truly shines through. Seeing their faces light up with excitement and the sense of accomplishment in their eyes is what makes the hard work and dedication of teaching truly worth it.

 

 9-12 District Finalist:

 

Amber Davis

Position: Theatre Arts and English, Tennessee High School

Hometown: Bristol, TN and Orlando, FL

Family: Husband-Jameson; Children-Jacob and Aiden; Dogs-Neville and Charlie; Cats-Luna, Bellatrix, Myrtle, and Bo

Education: Bachelor of Arts English, King University; Master of Arts Educational Leadership, Union College

Began Career at BTCS: 2014

 

I teach because I love education. I love all aspects of learning. It's true; I do love the theatre, and I love literature, but I truly love teaching. I believe that to be a great teacher, one must love education—all of it.

 

I know this may sound cliche', but my mom is the person who truly inspires me. She was a single mother for many years before marrying my stepfather, and she instilled the love of reading into me at a very young age. As a small child, we did not have a lot, but I never knew. My mom made me feel like I was the luckiest human in the world. I knew that I could accomplish anything because she told me I could. The way she raised me inspires me to be a more empathetic and compassionate educator. I know that I can inspire kids to love education because my mom inspired me!

 

My absolute favorite thing about teaching is the relationships I am lucky enough to develop with young people. I know I'm supposed to write about why I am a good teacher, but the students likely teach me more than I have ever taught them. Teaching high school keeps me young, and it is absolutely a window into the future. I can promise you, no matter what you hear in the news or on social media, our future is so bright! These students are my favorite thing about teaching.

 

In addition to the three nominees selected for district Teacher of the Year Award, the following Bristol Tennessee City Schools teachers were also nominated: 

 

Name

School

Casey Jackson

Anderson

Sammi Chafin

Fairmount

Jacob Mims

Holston View

Karen Duncan

Haynesfield

Jeannie Guess

TOPS

 

All nominees will be recognized at an annual Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN Outstanding Teacher Awards event in April. Each of these teachers demonstrates their commitment to excellence and has a positive impact on the lives and futures of their students. 

 

Join us in congratulating these teachers on their outstanding accomplishment! 

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