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We celebrate their leadership and commitment to students.

Meet the 58 outstanding teachers who are changing lives through their work in student growth, instructional excellence or teacher leadership.

Angela Allen

McGavock High School

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom are students who ask questions, support others, and apply the concepts and skills they learn in the classroom in other environments. These students show compassion to others, help peers who are struggling, and are willing to try new things with a growth mindset.”

Lauren Allgood

Head Magnet Middle

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“The most motivating thing for me is when I hear from my students or their parents that they enjoyed learning in my classroom. It does not take extravagant gestures to make a teacher feel supported, just sincere appreciation for the effort that we are putting in every day.”

Tina Amelunke

Mount View Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom are students who are excited about art. They are eager to learn about various art processes and techniques and apply that knowledge as they create art that includes their own choices as an artist. Students love to feel the success of creating something and enjoy seeing their work on display in the hallways and in art shows.”

Michael Bartus

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Thriving students are constantly examining the target language's culture and comparing it to their own and show a genuine interest in how other people live their lives in another part of the world.”

Cheryl Baumgardner

A. Z. Kelley Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment as a teacher is being able to instill self-confidence in an otherwise timid learner. In other words, to encourage a growth mindset in a student who was stuck in a negative mindset.”

Kathleen Bell

H. G. Hill Middle

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by being a part of our schools and seeing how amazing our students are. Whether it be volunteering to tutor, observing teachers in their classrooms, or becoming a community partner. The community needs to see the amazing things happening in our public schools in order to support the incredible work of our teachers.”

Rebecca Bunnell

KIPP Academy Elementary

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Each day feels like an accomplishment. There are pockets of wins and growth within every day, which is incredibly rewarding. I also love looking at days in a cumulative way, reflecting on how each one, with all its joy and grit, led to a student’s success.”

Lili Cai

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“When students are thriving in my classroom, they are very active in class participation and willing to help others. They always go beyond what I ask them to do.”

Diane Chen Kelly

Stratford STEM Magnet High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment involves the creative, exciting atmosphere in the library where all students feel welcome, empowered, ownership, and a vital part of our school. The relationships I have built with students and teachers built on positivity and respect while focused on learning are my greatest success.”

Courtney Corcoran

KIPP Academy Elementary

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment as a teacher is serving my school in an interventionist role. Through nine years of classroom experience in grades K-3, I grew in my understanding of how to serve students and meet their needs through differentiation and extra support. Through time spent building relationships with those students, I saw them grow as they worked toward meeting their individualized goals.”

Jessica Coughlin

Inglewood Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom are students who are willing to take risks, have a growth mindset, are kind to each other, and help each other learn!”

Rebecca Crawford

McMurray Middle

Student Growth
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by appreciating the work that teachers do. We have had many community partners get involved in our school by thanking our teachers and providing the resources we need. It makes such a difference! When teachers are appreciated by the families and organizations that surround them, we feel our sense of purpose being affirmed and want to work that much harder.”

Natasha Davis

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment as a teacher is building bonds and relationships beyond the classroom. For students to open up their lives and welcome me into it is a warming feeling that I don’t take for granted.”

Jenna Davis

Glenview Elementary

Student Growth
WINNER

“Thriving students are actively engaged in the learning process. They are curious, ask questions, and work hard to achieve their goals. When challenges and obstacles are in their paths, they persevere and rise to the occasion. Thriving students are lifelong learners.”

Lori Djuren

Apollo Middle

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students are relaxed, yet attentive and engaged in my classroom. Lowering the affective filter is important for creating a comfortable environment in my EL classroom. When students are relaxed in the classroom, they try new things and step outside of their comfort zone. I celebrate students' differences, cultural or otherwise, and teach them that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Lauryn England

Fall Hamilton Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by investing in growth and development of teacher leaders. When teachers feel supported and thrive, students do too. By undertaking daily actions and efforts to support teachers, our communities are also supporting student growth and learning, and are an integral part of creating the next generation of leaders.”

Julie Farris

KIPP Academy Elementary

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Thriving students take pride in their reading growth, persisting through tricky words, and increasing their words per minute each day.”

Laura Fittz

Glencliff High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“I see students thriving in my classroom when they feel safe, respected, and challenged. They come into class excited to see each other and curious about the day's learning. They respect their own voice and the voice of every member in the learning community, and they work together to become not only scholars of English, but also scholars of justice, love, and lifelong learning.”

Christopher Foster

Bellevue Middle

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students seek help from fellow students in a manner that allows for argument and disagreement. I welcome confusion and deep thinking as a part of the process for answering questions. Students are encouraged to think and provide justification for their answer to any problem. A thriving student isn't afraid to try. It isn't about right or wrong, but about the thinking that led to the answer.”

Nicole Healy

Middle College High

Student Growth
WINNER

My greatest accomplishment as a teacher can be summed up in an anonymous note left on my desk this year: "Mrs. G, I didn't know how much I was worth until you became my teacher. I love you!"

Crystal Hicks

Robert Churchwell Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“From time to time, I'll get a phone call, email, or Facebook message with an update from an AllStar [student], and they'll remind me that they've never forgotten our class motto - "Good, better, best, never let them rest until your good is better and your better is best!" The pride that these former students feel in themselves is my greatest accomplishment.”

Justin Keaney

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Student Growth
WINNER

“We need a renewed conversation about, and belief in, education as a fundamental public good in our society - something that prepares us for college and career, but also shapes young people into scientifically and culturally informed citizens and happy, healthy, decent human beings. We should expect teachers to be caring, talented professionals, and recruit, train, support, and compensate them like they are.”

Nick Keel

William Henry Oliver Middle

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Thriving students are the ones who can follow us anywhere through anything, no matter the type of learning we are doing, because they're always giving effort, they're always trying. They ask for help, they engage with the content, they can access and understand content in ways they never knew they could prior.”

Jennifer Keigher

East Nashville Magnet High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by partnering with schools and teachers to provide students with opportunities beyond the walls of our classroom. When the community is willing to support teachers in our goal to ensure student success, the possibilities are endless.”

Mary Kroeger

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Seeing students achieve their goals and become productive community members with a global perspective.”

Winston Ly

Valor Flagship Academy

Student Growth
WINNER

“Thriving students are eager to ask strong, detailed questions after already spending time to capture their own understanding. They are humble to receive help and excited to share their understanding with their table partner and the whole class. Thriving students in my classroom strive for excellence and want those around them to also feel successful.”

Mary Manley

Harris-Hillman Special Education

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“I measure my accomplishments in my becoming a guide and facilitator in the classroom. Direct teaching is crucial. But when I can set up environments that inspire individually driven learning, my students' work soars.”

Maria Marable

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Provide opportunities to listen to teachers about their concerns and knowledge about educating students. Advocate for policies that respect teachers and help students. Understand that excellent teaching does not always equate to excellent statistics. Acknowledge that teachers are professionals and work hard. Recognize excellent teachers so that the general public can share in the pride of the accomplishments taking place in their local community.”

Tameka Marshall

Norman Binkley Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Students thriving in my classroom are taking risks and not only answering, but asking questions. They are leading conversations and making meaning. We strive to thrive every day!”

Christopher Martin

Meigs Middle Magnet

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by supporting the public education system with their time, voice, and presence. Too many teachers with high potential for excellence burn out due to a lack of community engagement with and support for public education.”

Kaleigh McRoberts

Valor Flagship Academy

Student Growth
WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom look to each other and their own research for answers. They ask questions, know they can find the answers with time and effort, and persevere. They are able to form their own opinions; but at the same time, they know there are other points of view that have to be considered, questioned, and researched.”

Julia Milano

Warner Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment as a teacher is being able to form a classroom culture each year where students feel empowered to speak and take risks and where, most importantly, we all respect and value one another.”

Anne Moctezuma

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“A thriving student in my classroom is one who learns to have an open mind, a student who is able to acknowledge others' points of view and appreciate that we are all different.”

Andrew Molloy

John Overton High

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“... One thing I’m especially proud of is the role I’ve played in intentionally working to foster a creative, open, and supportive environment among my colleagues. I hope that, in the years since, I’ve helped my team members feel supported and encouraged as we all do our best to provide a quality education for the kids in our community.”

Angela Naglieri

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“The best support comes from our communities that collaborate, communicate, and show up for their schools. We are better together. Trust in our educators to do this hard work, and support efforts to fully fund our schools.”

Paula Pendergrass

Granbery Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“In my classroom, thriving students are highly engaged, challenged, and enthusiastic about learning. There is a blend of individual, collaborative team, and large group work taking place. This allows students the opportunity to work at their own pace and explore their interests.”

Paige Pennigar

LEAD Prep Southeast

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“The community circle nature of my classroom culture allows for students to engage with content on a deeper level that keeps them in the driver's seat of their learning. Students ask each other questions in my classroom and push each other's thinking, using me as a resource only when needed. This ownership of learning fosters an environment where students thrive daily.”

Elizabeth Phelps

Cameron College Prep

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“When a student chooses to use their lunch hour to come visit my class or reaches out for help with their homework years after leaving my classroom, that's when I know that I have made a lasting impact. That lasting impact and knowing that I helped shape that child into a scholar is my greatest accomplishment as a teacher.”

Jason Proffitt

Hunters Lane High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Invest and challenge the young people around you. Expect them to act positively while supporting them in their struggles. Our students and schools need more positive voices; invest in texts and activities that push students to grow. All students need access to enriching books and experiences. Income level should not determine your exposure to the variety of the world.”

Christine Quarles

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“Every year as we are introduced to "our kids," we feel the weight of the hardships our students suffer and celebrate the joys they get excited about. I don't leave my job at the door; it goes home with me and is constantly on my mind. We should be acknowledged for the passion it takes to be a good teacher and role model.”

Jayne Riand

William Henry Oliver Middle

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“I love when students come back years later and tell me I inspired them in a certain direction or made them feel that they could do whatever it was they set their mind to doing. I feel that my greatest accomplishment is inspiring students to become their best - whatever that means.”

Giovanna Rodriguez

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Thriving students are comfortable taking risks in a community of mutual respect. They are engaged and unafraid to stretch their thinking.”

Lindsay Roe

Cameron College Prep

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students are students who are constantly thinking and asking questions. They are excited about what they are learning and know that their contributions to the classroom atmosphere will only make everyone's learning better.”

Mary Ruth Saunders

A. Z. Kelley Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Our community can support teaching excellence by giving to education. I don't mean just give money. Go to a school and give of your time. Drop off doughnuts during Teacher Appreciation Week. Help clean up school grounds before the year begins. Support teachers by standing beside them and appreciating the professionals they are in the community.”

Ryan Selvaggio

Hunters Lane High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom are engaged physically and mentally; they are confident in speaking up and sharing in class despite not knowing if their answers are correct. Such students excel working collaboratively with others, crave feedback, and consistently want to learn from their mistakes. Most of all, thriving students are willing to work independently, yet they ask for help when needed.”

Jennifer Sharp

John Overton High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“In this profession, there is truly no better feeling than knowing that your students have gone on to find success and happiness in their lives and have reached their potential (and beyond)! These stories are the best reminder of how bright our future can be if we continue to invest in our students every day.”

John Skinner

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“The research is clear – family and community involvement in K-12 education leads to better outcomes for students. Community involvement is absolutely essential for teaching excellence. I feel that we must actively seek ways to include the community in a child’s education while encouraging community support of all of the hard work I see teachers doing across MNPS every single day.”

Rick Stanley

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“Thriving students in my classroom are authentically engaged in relevant and interesting activities and dialogue. They are pushing each other to be their best selves and guiding their own learning. Ideally, this is best accomplished when the students are doing the heavy lifting and when my classroom is student-centered.”

Kaitlyn Stasik

KIPP High School

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“Thriving students are asking thought-provoking questions, challenging the status quo in the room and in their community, pushing their peers to excel, and demonstrating the empathy and character skills that literary study affords those who attend to it closely.”

Jeremy Summitt

Valor Flagship Academy

Student Growth
WINNER

“The community can best support teaching excellence by recognizing excellent teaching while highlighting those successes as examples of how to change children's life trajectories. Sharing resources, ideas, and strategies across schools is what can make our community stronger because it will allow our network of educators to be more well-equipped to tackle the daily challenges that teaching presents.”

Krista Ann Sumner

Harpeth Valley Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“I was able to help my non-verbal student gain communication skills. Watching him grow and communicate more and more within my classroom was such a gift. Not only did I forge a forever bond with that student, but I was able to form a bond with his family that remains to this day.”

Kevin Terry Jr.

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“My greatest teaching accomplishment is that I have brought activities to my students that they might not have the opportunity to participate in outside of school. One example is teaching many students to ride bikes.”

Alexandra Thurman

Charlotte Park Elementary

Student Growth
WINNER

“In my classroom, thriving students are able to persevere to make sense of problems. They communicate their thinking and help teach others. They are always coming up with new and creative ways to approach and solve a problem.”

Walker Vail

John B. Whitsitt Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“We have worked tirelessly to ensure student growth by creating a culture that invests in every student and family through equitable access to learning. Personally, I have been lucky to be part of the leadership team that has been dedicated to teacher development to ensure that all students are learning with and from highly qualified professionals who set high expectations for themselves and their students.”

Sarah Beth Watts

Waverly-Belmont Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“I think there are a number of ways for our community to support teaching excellence, but I think one of the best ways to show support is advocacy. If our community advocates for the appropriate resources and funds for our schools, then we as educators can provide the best education for our students.”

Jane Weaver

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“They are engaged and take ownership of their own learning. Our learning community is safe and respectful, so students feel comfortable enough to take risks in their language study, and are often talkative - but in the target language, French! They are curious, inquiring constantly about the language and cultures of the francophone world.”

Amber Whiting

William Henry Oliver Middle

Teacher Leadership
TEAMS WINNER

“My greatest accomplishment is forming meaningful connections with students to understand them as human beings.”

Cristina Zeppos

Lockeland Elementary

Instructional Excellence
WINNER

“I believe my greatest accomplishment as a teacher is the feedback I’ve received from current and former students that they have become better readers or enjoy reading more after I have been their teacher. Not only does this show that their self-esteem in reading has grown, but has created a love of reading for them when they had previously thought otherwise.”

 
 
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.
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