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Teachers of the Year
Teachers of the Year
Posted on 02/08/2019
Teachers of the Year

Congratulations to this year’s district-level Teachers of the Year: Rhonda Shaver, grades PreK-4; Vicki Winstead, grades 5-8; and David Semones, grades 9-12. From eight district-wide nominees, these three teachers were selected to represent Bristol Tennessee City Schools in the 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.

Rhonda Shaver, originally from Kingsport, is a second grade teacher and teacher ambassador at Anderson Elementary School, where she has taught for nine years. She and her husband Ted have been married for more than 30 years. They have four children: TJ, Cassie, Torie, and Maddie. Ms. Shaver received her bachelor’s degree from Milligan College and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Tusculum College. She is also certified as a BrainPOP Educator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, and EPIC Educator. Ms. Shaver believes that she was meant to be a teacher and said that the desire to teach was ingrained in her from an early age. She hopes to instill the same love of school and learning in her students that started for her as a young child, which, she believes, can be life changing for them. Ms. Shaver also believes that teaching is never boring. “I enjoy teaching through the lens of technology,” Ms. Shaver said. “I love the student engagement and the personalized learning the use of technology creates.”

Vicki Winstead is the school librarian at Vance Middle School and is originally from Kingsport. Ms. Winstead and her husband Bob have two children, Joseph and Rachel. She attended East Tennessee State University where she earned both her bachelor’s degree in music education and master’s degree in school library media. She also earned a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Tennessee. Ms. Winstead has had a 29-year career in Tennessee public schools, with 22 of them as a school librarian. Ms. Winstead’s favorite thing about teaching is, as a school librarian, getting to spend her day surrounded by books—a love that started as a child. “As a young girl, my dad would take me to the library almost every Saturday and let me check out a huge stack of books. I don’t think he realized at the time what a huge impact this would have on my life.” Ms. Winstead hopes to have that same impact on the life of someone else.

David Semones is the director of bands at Tennessee High School. He oversees the marching band, concert band, jazz band, and helps coordinate the winter guard and percussion ensembles. He also teaches Intro to Music Theory and AP Music Theory. Mr. Semones, a THS graduate, has a Bachelor of Music degree from East Tennessee State University. He began his career in education in 2005 and has been with BTCS since 2013. Along with his wife Colleen, son Miles, and daughter Harper, Mr. Semones currently lives in Bluff City. They have two cats, a dog, and a hedgehog. Mr. Semones says that he is inspired by seeing the lives of students changed by music. “Music teaches more than just notes and rhythms,” Mr. Semones said. “It teaches one how to be creative, to work and persist as a team to achieve a common goal, the value of rigorous hard work; and most importantly, it teaches people how to treat one another and to be a better person. I teach so that I can shape my students with these values, and to hopefully do my small part in creating a better world for future generations.”

In addition to the three nominees selected for district Teacher of the Year Award, the following Bristol Tennessee City Schools teachers were school-level winners and nominees for district Teacher of the Year:



Tracy Irvin

Avoca Elementary

Tara O’Dell

Fairmount Elementary

Cody Snyder


Briona Littleton

Holston View

Lindsey Weeden


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

Please congratulate these teachers on their outstanding accomplishment!

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