We celebrate their leadership and commitment to students.

Meet the 49 outstanding teachers who are changing the lives of students through their work in literacy instruction, support of English Language Learners or teacher leadership.


Ashley Agoranos

A. Z. Kelley Elementary

"I became a teacher because I wanted to be someone that poured into the next generation, giving them the skills, mindsets, heart, and encouragement they need to be our future leaders."

Jarred Amato

Maplewood High

"The best part of my job is inspiring students to become passionate, proficient readers and writers and working alongside them to increase access to diverse books and promote a love of literacy."

Elijah Ammen

Stratford High

Laura Baxter

Nashville Classical

"My favorite part of teaching is watching children fall in love with great books that inspire them and change the way they think about the world"

Chandra Bennett

Hillsboro High

"I love developing strong relationships with my students. Knowing them as people increases my effectiveness as a teacher."

Michael Beno

Glenview Elementary

Sarah Best

LEAD Academy

"My favorite part of teaching is making my kids laugh. Someone once told me that students learn better when they are happy, and since then I have prioritized creating opportunities for my students to experience joy."

Lauren Binkley

Cole Elementary

"Nothing is more fun or fulfilling for me than getting to know my students and their families, learning their hopes and dreams, and being a part of helping each child recognize how important and deserving they are."

Carol Chaparro

Hunters Lane High

"I became a teacher to make a difference in students’ lives, especially the English Language Learners that I serve. I love being a positive role model for them and showing them that they are valuable and worth it."

Anna Beth Crump

Crieve Hall Elementary

"One of my most proud moments has been seeing my students take ownership over their academic growth. It is so rewarding to see the looks on their faces when they reach a new goal and see their growth and progress."

Brigget Davis

J. E. Moss Elementary

"I became a teacher because when I look at children I see possibilities, and I want to be the person to nurture those possibilities. I love that I have the power and responsibility to make their dreams a reality."

Cristina DeScisciolo

STRIVE Collegiate Academy

"I first became a teacher because I wanted to serve my country in the way I best could. Being a part of Teach for America opened my eyes to the urgent need for quality, equitable education for all."

Alexandra Economos

Tusculum Elementary

Shameka Fentress

Cambridge Early Learning Center

"My favorite moment in teaching is when I hear my students encouraging each other. I believe whole heartedly that a classroom environment that's warm and inclusive yields positive results in the way that students learn."

Jennifer Ferguson

Hermitage Elementary

"My favorite part of my job is the impact I make with parents when I collaborate with them and provide them with a true team approach to help their child reach his/her potential."

Andrea Fuller

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

"My favorite part of my job is speaking words of affirmation, writing encouraging notes, and building relationships. Once a student feels loved, cared for, and believed in, anything is possible in the classroom!"

Erin Garrett

Fall-Hamilton Elementary

"Small groups in both reading and math are the climax of my job; the feeling I get from seeing their faces light up with understanding when they grasp a difficult concept is priceless!"

Deborah Gomez

H.G. Hill Middle

"The realization that I work with the most dedicated, supportive team of teachers, staff, and administrators is my favorite “moment” in teaching, and I get to have those moments every single day at H. G. Hill."

Raegan Halliburton

Westmeade Elementary

"My favorite part about teaching is planning creative and interactive lessons that cultivate higher order thinking skills and communication skills because it is imperative for students to interact with one another while learning."

Michael Hamilton

McGavock High

"The best part of my job are the interactions I have with my students in and out of the classroom. Getting to know them beyond the classroom adds so much to the teaching experience."

Ashley Hescock

May Werthan Shayne Elementary School

"As an ELL lead teacher I have the privilege of working with multiple grade levels and I get to see their growth over the course of several years, which makes my relationships with them so much stronger."

Gary Hook

Nashville Big Picture High School

Sara Hoyal

Hunters Lane High

"I am most proud of my ability to reflect every day on what I can do to be a better teacher for my students – I will never be perfect, but I can always keep trying to be better."

Katelyn Ippensen

LEAD Prep Southeast

"My favorite part of the job are those moments when a lesson finally “clicks” for a student. When you see that proud smile, you know that they are now more empowered than they have ever been before."

Ashlie Jackson

DuPont Hadley Middle

"Teaching science often leads to discussions about abstract concepts, so when students have that “light bulb” moment I’m ecstatic! They are then able to deepen their knowledge and better apply it to their everyday lives."

Amy Jerome

Eakin Elementary

"I became a teacher to watch students grow academically, socially and emotionally. The ripple effects of inspiring students to understand the impact they can make in our community is the highlight of my career."

Hannah Knox

LEAD Prep Southeast

"The most rewarding thing is watching kids make connections to meaningful texts and having moments of clarity in the classroom that influence their world view and their ideas about the parts they play in that world."

Samantha Levy

LEAD Prep Southeast

Kirsten Lindquist

Cameron College Prep

"It sounds so cliche, but my favorite part of the job is the students. I love how a group of strangers in August quickly become "my kids" by Christmas."

Cara Meissner

Harris-Hillman Special Education

"I decided to pursue my Master’s of education because it seemed the classroom was one of the best ways to advocate for and empower students with special needs whose voices are all too frequently silenced."

Heather Meston

Head Middle

"I enjoy the relationships I form with students, and there are few greater rewards than the moment when a student finally feels confident in his or her knowledge of a previously-difficult subject."

Doug Mosher

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

"I want to instill in my students a love of learning, reading, problem solving, and respect for others. It is such a pleasure to witness students take control of their own learning and feel empowered."

Millie Norwood

William Henry Oliver Middle

"I believe my students are our future. Each and every student has the potential to bring something unique and special to society through his or her many gifts and talents."

Paula Pendergrass

Granbery Elementary

"My favorite part of teaching is helping students achieve their individual, short and long –term goals. It makes me happy to be a part of their solution."

Jill Pointer

Donelson Middle

"Hearing my students think, express ideas, and have discussions with others brings fulfillment not only to me as their teacher, but I feel also brings each student a sense of success in their own lives."

Jennifer Presson

DuPont Hadley Middle

"I became a teacher because I wanted to help young people change their futures by overcoming whatever circumstances may stand in their way and because I wanted young people to know that someone believes in them."

Jessica Reid

Antioch Middle

"EL students are just like everyone else in so many ways, but they are unique because their knowledge of the English language normally grows so quickly and clearly. It’s so easy to see their progress!"

Hannah Rice

McMurray Middle

"I love that my job allows me to provide supports for students learning English so that they can reach the high expectations we set for all students."

Liz Seamon

West End Middle

"My favorite part of teaching is building relationships. I truly believe that all of the students in the building are “my students” and I love the growth that comes with getting to know each of them."

Martha Shaffer

Maplewood High

"Students are our future; the ones I am fortunate to teach have renewed my belief that our future is in great hands! They are resilient, compassionate, and have a thirst for learning; I couldn’t ask for better."

Todd Shipley

Martin Luther King Jr. School

"My favorite part of the job is teaching students to develop a love of playing and how every day provides a different challenge. Teaching students to become better musicians is never monotonous!"

Danielle Stein

Julia Green Elementary

"Helping students learn about themselves as individuals, members of a team, and as learners is my way of helping them pursue their dreams."

Melissa Stugart

Hillsboro High

"There is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have helped a student understand something about themselves or their world that they’ve never considered: those lightbulb moments."

Caitlin Talley

Nashville Classical

"My favorite part of my job is when Kindergarteners begin to read. It's almost like something magical happens and overnight they are putting sounds together to make words."

Courtney Warters

Westmeade Elementary

Alice Watts

Shwab Elementary

"It is amazing to see the joy on a students' face when you know you have made an impact on their life. These students are our future, and I get to be a part of molding that future."

Jane Weaver

Martin Luther King Jr. School

"Sometimes students tell me that they have met French speakers in the local community or when they were on vacation, and they have been so excited to find that they could communicate."

Alison Wilhelm

Gower Elementary

"We are given the opportunity to nurture a child's mind and spirit. There is no other element of teaching that even compares to the joy we take in their growth!"

Amanda Wilkins

Andrew Jackson Elementary

"The fact that I am able to influence and encourage children in a positive way to work to their full potential in all areas of life is the reason I do what I do."


Metro Nashville Public Schools, the Nashville’s Agenda Steering Committee and the Nashville Public Education Foundation created the Blue Ribbon Teacher Awards to recognize top teaching talent in our public schools.

Learn more at www.mnps.org/blue-ribbon-teacher


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