The Teachers of the Year at all five DeKalb County schools were announced last week.
Smithville Elementary kindergarten teacher Tanya Howard; Northside Elementary third-grade math, science, and social studies teacher Jennifer Griffith; DeKalb West third-grade self-contained teacher Lori Pryor; DeKalb Middle seventh-grade math teacher Tad Webb; and DeKalb County High School ninth-grade English/10th-12th-grade theatre arts teacher Sonja House are the county’s top teachers for 2015.
Supervisor of Instruction for seventh through 12th grades, Lisa Cripps, in officially revealing the winners Friday, said the five top teachers have the opportunity to advance in state competition. "The Teacher of the Year program begins on the school level, moves to the system level, the regional level, and finally to the state level," she said.
The system-wide Teacher of the Year competition will continue through February, and the overall winner in the county will receive the newly-renamed John Isabell Award at the Teacher of the Year Banquet this spring. Isabell, a long-time local educator and former President of the DeKalb County Education Association, lost his battle with cancer in 2014. The Board of Education voted in August to rename the award for Isabell at the suggestion of former Second District School Board Member Charles Robinson.
Three teachers will be chosen by a committee to compete at the regional level in March, and if chosen to continue, will represent DeKalb County at the state level.
The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.
The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.
Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.
Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the governor. In addition, the state finalists and the State Teacher of the Year also receive cash awards.