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We celebrate their leadership and commitment to students.

Meet the 50 outstanding teachers who are changing lives through their work in equity, student engagement, and teacher leadership.

Daniel Agyemang

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Engagement
WINNER

"I strongly believe that with a growth mindset , the right resources and a teacher that cares about the learning and success of his or her students ,all students can learn and excel in math."

Kari Arias

Antioch Middle

Engagement
WINNER

"I love seeing former students out in the world and finding out they are living life and making moves. If ever there are times of uncertainty, I think about the kids I have now and will have in the future and how I could be the teacher that reaches them, inspires them or changes their path."

Addison Barrack

Office of English Learners

Engagement
WINNER

I'm a part of the Educator's Cooperative, a PD group that allows teachers from all over the city to engage in un-conferencing (i.e., free-flowing discussions in which every voice is regarded with equal prowess) and this process has allowed me to examine my beliefs around teaching, investigate and challenge biases, and supported me to make changes to my teaching practice that have made all the difference."

Lori Bervoets

John Overton High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

“I am constantly learning and growing from watching my peers. From a tip to manage behavior to a great idea about how to get kids to understand a concept, I consider my professional growth to be directly related to influence of fellow educators.”

Jennifer Bohan

DuPont Tyler Middle

Equity
WINNER

"My students keep me motivated. I always try to respect my students’ future selves and honor who each child will become. Uncertainty is not permanent, so I cannot allow it to impact my instructional focus or the academic growth of my students."

Amma Brown

Mount View Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"I believe that true partnership exists when the community supports the efforts and advocates for teachers. This can include coming into the building and seeing what teachers and students are doing."

Briana Burtsell

Hillsboro High

Equity
WINNER

"My motivation comes from knowing what I teach can be lifesaving. Learning in a pandemic, students needed an outlet for their emotions. The visual arts are therapeutic, reflective, and expressive. It builds connections and helps students feel heard and seen."

Amy Cochran

J.E. Moss Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"I never lose sight of the idea that, no matter what, I can always send every student home each day having given them the opportunity to know or do something more than what they did the day before. Every student can learn something new every day, regardless of changing curriculum, standards, materials, or setting."

Amy De La Rosa

Rocketship NE Elementary

Equity
WINNER

What always keeps me motivated is the students. I am given just a short amount of time each year with my students to make to biggest and most lasting impact I can. So even during difficult or uncertain times I always keep my students top of mind to help me stay motivated."

Patti Drexler

Crieve Hall Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"As a newer teacher to MNPS, I have embraced the frequent visits to my classroom by my principal, Dr. Miley, and have appreciated his feedback. This constant, open-communication with him has helped me to see my strengths, and challenged me to work on other areas to be the best educator I can be. I appreciate him more than he'll ever know."

Julie Fritz

Hermitage Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"There were many co-teachers at the beginning of my career that demonstrated how to show empathy to students while still having high expectations for their performance, how to laugh with them, and also how to connect with students and their needs. When students feel as if you care for them, and are there to help them, they will be increasingly willing to achieve the tasks you set before them."

Janelle Ganske

Hillsboro High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"If we can develop authentic relationships, we have the power to alter any previous notions or assumptions, and work towards the shared outcome, the success of our young people. When families, community groups, business and schools band together to support learning, young people achieve more in school, stay in school longer, and enjoy the experience more."

Alesha Handy

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Engagement
WINNER

When times are difficult, I think about the moments when my classes and my school have felt like a community. Memories of people coming together to support and celebrate each other remind me why I became a teacher.

Jan Hatleberg

Meigs Middle Magnet

Equity
WINNER

“I am motivated by helping my students. Knowing that I can offer them a safe and accepting environment.

Teresa Helms

Rose Park Middle

Engagement
WINNER

“The community can best support teachers by recognizing those who work hard to make an impact in the children’s lives and the community at large."

Olivia Huddleston-Boatman

DuPont Hadley Middle

Engagement
WINNER

"Hope drives me forward in times of uncertainty. When I hold on to the hope that my students will make progress and will accomplish their goals, I am inspired to do all that I can to support them. Our attitude is always in our control. We can choose to embrace our potential, to see the good in people or situations, and be the light in the darkness no matter how dark it gets."

Nikki Hughes

Warner Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"Communities can foster their best support by making connections with the principal and the leadership team at the school, discover the prospective resources that are still needed, and ask, “ How can I help or support this school?” One conversation could make a world of a difference!"

Samantha Jacobs

Norman Binkley Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"I have been so grateful to work with many teachers who bring creative and original ideas on how to get students engaged, who dedicate their summer breaks to pursuing further education and professional development for themselves, and who are constantly working to build stronger relationships with students and their families. All of these traits have encouraged and challenged me to step up to the plate and make sure that I am also giving our students my best each and every day."

Alyssa Janco

Eagle View Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"My students will always be my biggest motivators. Seeing the way kids bounce back and push on during times of uncertainty has always and will always amaze me. To any student who has ever stepped foot in my classroom: you motivated me in ways I can't even put into words."

Shamica Johnson

Jere Baxter Middle

Equity
WINNER

"My fellow educators and administrators have both supported and challenged me to be the best teacher for my students. Anyone in education knows that you cannot stay in a bubble and take on the task educating students alone. It is imperative that you have a support system and individuals to challenge and push you to be the best."

Reid Jones

Harris-Hillman Special Education

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

Don't look for good days, look for good parts of each day instead."

Daniel Kim

John Overton High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"Certainly, COVID-19 and the pandemic was a curve ball thrown out of left field for all educators across the world. More than ever, I think the world saw just how great the role of a teacher is, to not only educate, but to be a mentor, a counselor, a friend, a source of steadfastness in the midst of all the chaos. Most importantly, I knew that we would get through whatever uncertainties that were thrown at us because we shared a common goal: to see our students succeed and thrive."

Katherine Kirchhoff

Hillwood High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"The community can best support teaching excellence by being an ally for our students and teachers. Our students need people in the community who care about their education. Our teachers need to know the community has their back."

Magdalena Koudelka

Eagle View Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"It may sound cliché but that “Ah-hah” moment from a child or seeing a wave of satisfaction wash other them when trying new art techniques is what keeps me motivated. It does the soul good when a child is eager to come to your room, not to just use your supplies or to run away from academics, but to accept a challenge or continue an assignment that they worked hard on."

Siena Lang

Rose Park Middle

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"A myth that I would like to dispel is that teachers can do everything. Strong support by parents, principals, counselors and social workers are needed for each student to feel heard and cared for. Working together we can support every student and help each develop and grow."

Nicole Maynard

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Engagement
WINNER

"Sharing resources, ideas, and camaraderie is what I get from other educators. Observing their good ideas and adapting them to my classroom raises the level of excellency for all of us."

Kendra McCullough

Crieve Hall Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"Communities that consistently and genuinely show gratitude, respect, and support to teachers and schools can pave the way for excellent teaching. Teachers pour themselves into their students and schools, and when others see and appreciate that effort, it can be the boost that keeps us going."

Andrew Mizell

Margaret Allen Middle

Engagement
WINNER

"The community can best support teaching excellence by simply saying thank you and continuing to encourage our efforts because we try very hard. Sometimes, it's the genuine appreciation that can give teachers the extra boost they need to push through and keep striving for more."

Kristin Montenegro

Glencliff High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"Another teacher once told me, 'Everything we give students should be just a little bit too hard for them.' I think of it often, and it’s an excellent reminder to hold high expectations and challenge students. Stretching their abilities demands development, and students so often rise to the occasion."

Annie Morton-Krise

Tom Joy Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"I am motivated by my belief that I make a DIFFERENCE. I see it every day. Teaching is my calling. The longer I do it, the more students I help. That is the legacy I want to leave in this world."

Inam Munjal

Middle College High

Equity
WINNER

"Above all, teaching, interaction with students and their success brings a lot of joy in my life and is a great source of positive energy."

Kathleen Murphy

Fall-Hamilton Elementary

Equity
WINNER

"There has been so much uncertainty in our world for students, teachers and families alike. As I think about what motivates me during this time, I picture the faces of children that I have had the privilege of teaching and mentoring. It is these faces that give me hope that each day is a new chance to offer the world my very best."

Alexandra Novak

Hillwood High

Engagement
WINNER

"The role of a teacher has always been more than is defined by the job description. While teaching English may be my main objective each day, there is so much more to take into consideration to ensure that my students can grow and learn."

David Petrelli

Lockeland Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"If I learned anything from our big family holidays and dinners growing up, it’s that life is WAY more fun at the kids’ table. Teaching can be full of frustration, exhaustion, and red tape...which have a way of distracting us from what really matters. So when these “grown-up” distractions threaten to send me down a path I don’t want to go, I remind myself to go back to the kids’ table. To meet the students at their level; to see the world through their eyes. It’s funny how the things that really matter start to come into focus, and everything else seems to melt away."

Erica Pfleegor

Hillsboro High

Equity
WINNER

"The educators with whom I have worked, specifically at Hillsboro High School, have created for me a strong support system that enables me to cry, laugh, deep dive a strategy, bounce off ideas, and share concerns, free of judgment. I am beyond grateful for these educators and their constant encouragement, suggestions, and support."

Chelsea Pilote

Eagle View Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"Positive attitudes and concerns for others are qualities that great teachers have. Great colleagues will challenge you by asking what is best for children? How can we make our time with students more memorable? Reflecting on lessons together with other educators gives us insight to how we can be better at our jobs."

Katherine Prather

Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"My students keep me motivated. I am so lucky to teach students who are engaged in learning and curious about how the world works. AP Human Geography is a perfect fit for my diverse and talented student body."

Sean Price

Cane Ridge High

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"I try my best to, whenever possible, help colleagues if they're having an issue...my predisposition to do whatever I can is informed by one thing and one thing alone - at some point in my career, a teacher was faced with the same conundrum and they decided to help me out when I had a question."

LaKesha Rayford

Glencliff Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"Students are my driving motivation. Children are the most resilient people in this world because, whether intentionally or not, they hold on to hope. I love being around my students because they make me want to change the world so that it is safer, more equitable, and kinder to them as they grow older and grow wiser."

Dara Rosenkrantz

Hume-Fogg Magnet High

Engagement
WINNER

"My colleagues inspire me daily with their creativity, dedication and perseverance. Great teachers inspire their students as well as their colleagues, and I have the privilege of working with many such teachers!"

Carissa Schmidt

Hunters Lane High

Equity
WINNER

"When I see other teachers succeed, it inspires me to do more. I have had mentors who strived for Masters and Doctoral degrees, as well as National Board Certifications, and seeing them achieve greatness helps me see that I can do it, too. Whenever I feel like I could be doing better, or that I haven't done enough for my students, my co-workers encourage me to keep trying and work through the difficulties involved with teaching."

Anna-Marie Settine

Lockeland Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"One of the best parts of being a teacher is being able to work with other teachers. I have never worked with another group of people who are so consistently interested in providing support for you in tough moments and motivating you when you're ready for a challenge. Teachers are amazing because we do this for our students, but we also do it for each other. My teammates are a huge source of support and inspiration every day!"

Caroline Sharp

William Henry Oliver Middle

Engagement
WINNER

"I think communities can best support schools by becoming involved and partnering with us. There are so many opportunities and possibilities to join together with mentors, projects, and resources. The communities, schools, parents, and students all benefit when this happens. This creates a strong sense of purpose and unity. Everyone wins."

Bennetta Shelley-Goode

John Trotwood Moore Middle

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"What keeps me motivated during times of uncertainty is knowing that student learning is directly reflective of me and my efforts to find a way. Regardless of the situation, learning doesn't stop. Schools provides so much to the community, we have to continue to serve."

Kellie Smith

Lockeland Elementary

Engagement
WINNER

"Student engagement and being a part of their lives really does keep me striving forward when things feel uneasy. The relationships I have with my students help to motivate me on those hard to wake up days. Seeing how glad they are to see me each morning puts a smile on my face, no matter how I am feeling."

Graham Spencer-Orrell

Goodlettsville Middle

Equity
WINNER

"I love when our community becomes an active participant in our students’ education. From volunteering in our schools, to showing up to performances and sporting events, to hosting students as interns or for job experiences, the more involved a community is in a student’s life, the more they feel accepted and a part of the community. When our students feel a part of something bigger than them, they are more likely to succeed."

Alexandra Webb

Gower Elementary

Teacher Leadership
WINNER

"During the uncertain times, the thing that keeps me motived is knowing that my students need me. My classroom for the most part is something consistent for them and creates a positive, predictable environment in such a time that isn't as predictable."

Richae Williams

Cane Ridge High

Equity
WINNER

"In times of uncertainty, I remind myself how much I care about other people. I have taught thousands of students throughout my teaching career, and my students, and their families, become some of my favorite people. I keep motivated by focusing on the good things about each person that I am around. I love helping other people. It is good practice for me to often reflect on how I can help others. I hope that the people I serve know their value and that others care about them."

Linda Wynkoop

Glencliff High

Equity
WINNER

"I am a better teacher the longer I am in the profession. You learn skills and patience. It takes years to be a wise teacher and you are always learning."

Frank Zimmerer

Antioch High

Equity
WINNER

"Mentorship is so important. As a young teacher, looking towards veteran teachers for advice, help, observation, and just to bounce ideas has provided so much to me. In the music classroom, you have so many moving parts. Having a veteran teacher available to help has been great, even as I become a veteran teacher myself."

 
 
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.

Thank you to our program sponsors

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Steve Turner
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