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Weakley County Schools Announces Teachers of the Year

WEAKLEY COUNTY TEACHERS OF THE YEAR – Sixteen teachers across Weakley County Schools have been named Teachers of the Year by their peers.

By Erica Moore

Weakley County Schools Communications Director

The votes have been cast, the ballots are in, and the scores have been tallied. Weakley County Schools is thrilled to announce that the 2024-2025 Weakley County Schools Teachers of the Year have officially been selected. 

Each year, ballots are distributed at the building level to identify the best candidates for three grade bands that include Pre-K through 4th, 5th grade through 8th, and 9th through 12th. Educators in each school vote and ultimately select the winners for each school.

The 2024-25 winners per grade band and school are:

Pre-K through 4th Grade

  • Ashley Bradberry, Dresden Elementary School
    • Sherri Brawner, Gleason School
    • Kimberly Laws, Greenfield School
    • Allie Crews, Martin Elementary School
    • Taylor Zantop, Martin Primary School
    • Shawna Sampson, Sharon School

5th Grade through 8th Grade

  • Sheena Scott, Dresden Middle School
    • Amy Orr, Gleason School
    • Mikaela Roberts, Greenfield School
    • Carrie Stringer, Martin Elementary School
    • Kristy Shumake, Martin Middle School
    • Betty Eddings, Sharon School

9th Grade through 12th Grade

  • Amber Hazelwood, Dresden High School
    • Rebecca Covington, Gleason School
    • Amee Hayes, Greenfield School
    • Seth Frields, Westview High School

After the winners were selected per building by grade band, a district selection committee meets to review contender entries and choose district level winners that are comprised of one individual per grade band. The committee met in November, and the representatives selected will next advance to the regional level.

The district-level winners are:

  • Sherri Brawner, Gleason School: Pre-K through 4th grade
    • Kristy Shumake, Martin Middle School: 5th through 8th grade
    • Seth Frields, Westview High School: 9th through 12th grade

DISTRICT-LEVEL TEACHERS OF THE YEAR – Three teachers in Weakley County Schools were chosen to represent at the district level. Chosen were (from left) Sherri Brawner, Gleason School; Kristy Shumake, Martin Middle School and Seth Frields, Westview High School.

District winners were surprised with a special visit marking the announcement from supervisors and school leadership. Video of the surprise visits can be found pinned at the top of the district’s Facebook page, facebook.com/WeakleySchools.

Eligibility and selection criteria as set by the state require that the candidate be a full-time, certified teacher who spends the majority of the school day in direct instruction to students. Candidates must have a minimum of three years of experience as a teacher in Tennessee schools and a track record of exceptional gains in student learning.

Teachers of the Year must be effective, creative, poised, articulate, exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable, and skilled. They are leaders in the community and in the school, active in extracurricular activities, and inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

“It is an honor to be selected Teacher of the Year at any level,” mentioned Donald Ray High, Supervisor of Instruction for Grades 6-12 and Coordinator of the Teachers of the Year program. “Our district’s teachers never fail to inspire us every day with all the great things they do in their classrooms. We see the hard work they put in, and it’s wonderful to get this peer recognition.”

Supervisor of Elementary Instruction Terri Stephenson added, “We had excellent candidates, and it was a very tough selection of the committee. We know that those who were selected will do well at the next level. They will absolutely represent the district and their fellow teachers very well.”

“What an achievement,” noted Assistant Director of Schools Betsi Foster. “We are so proud of each one of these educators. We are thrilled that they are getting recognition for the positive impact they make every day in the lives of students in Weakley County Schools.”

Director of Schools Jeff Cupples added, “We have the best educators in the state. It’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to celebrate the great work they do. Congratulations to those who were selected and thank you for all that you do each day to support students.”

The Tennessee Department of Education oversees the Teacher of the Year program to recognize and honor outstanding teachers in the state. Regional teachers of the year are included in education policy making through the Teacher Advisory Council.

For more about Weakley County Schools, visit weakleycountyschools.com.

SPECIAL VISIT – Members of the Weakley County Department of Education surprised Gleason School teacher Sherri Brawner (center, seated) and her students when they announced she was chosen as a District Level Teacher of the Year.

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