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Communications Department » Teachers of the Year 2019-2020

Teachers of the Year 2019-2020

  • BrownleeChristi Brownlee teaches kindergarten readiness at Barfield Elementary. She’s been with the district 25 years.
  • She has twice been Teacher of the Year — once at Blackman Elementary and most recently at Barfield.

Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “When a former student shares a special memory about something they learned while in my classroom.”

  • ButlerKartina Butler teaches first grade at Blackman Elementary. She’s been with the district seven years.
  • Kartina and her husband Kevin Butler have four children — Darius, Malik, Maya and Mikal.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Becoming Teacher of the Year in two schools.”
  • BurksRutherford County High School Level Teacher of the Year.
  • Elisa Burks teaches AP literature, composition, mythology and ACT Prep at Blackman High. She has been with the district 17 years
  • Elisa and her husband Richard have five children — Blaine, Alice, Thomas, Jonathan and Audrey.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Every student letter and email that reveals that I am providing my students the tools for success in their college experiences, from Vanderbilt to Harvard, from Baylor to Brown, and even beyond into their careers.”
  • SeifertKrissa Seifert is an ELA teacher and works as the drama director at Blackman Middle. She has been with the district 13 years.
  • Krissa has a daughter named Erin.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “When I see students from previous years, and they remind me that I impacted their future in some way.”
  • Gray Julie Gray teaches third grade at Brown’s Chapel. She has been with the district 18 years.
  • Julie and her husband Chris have two children — Emma and Owen.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “I’ve had the joy and privilege of watching former students grow up and find success. Many of them have overcome obstacles and have worked tirelessly to pursue their dreams. Some are now doctors, nurses, engineers, business owners and educators.”
  • BirckholtzKristen Birckholtz teaches art at Buchanan Elementary. She has been with the district six years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Every day I get to create an environment that is kind, imaginative and challenging for young artists. I’m blessed to be a part of student’s first discoveries of the magic of art.”
  • CainElizabeth Cain teaches English as a Second Language at Cedar Grove. She has been with the district 12 years.
  • Brooks Adam J. Brooks teaches AP for U.S. Government and Comparative Government at Central Magnet. He has been with the district 13 years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Teaching students AP Government at Central Magnet. As a life-long nerd, it’s a treat to go to work every day at “The Home of the Nerd Herd.”
  • PattersonKelly Patterson teaches second grade at Christiana Elementary. She’s been with the district 20 years.
  • Kelly has a daughter named Kamden.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Seeing some of my first students become educators themselves.”
  • BondsValori Bonds teaches sixth grade English Language Arts at Christiana Middle. She has been with the district 24 years.
  • Valori and her husband Rodney have three children — Gentry, Mack and Charli Ann.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Helping students with emotional and mental health issues be successful, mentoring teachers and watching students grow into successful members of our community.”
  • Jackson Matthew Jackson teaches middle school social studies at Daniel McKee and a member of the leadership team and the advisory board. He has been with the district 11 years.
  • Matthew and his wife Jillian have two children — Braylon and Avy Rhea.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “When a student tells me that they did not enjoy history / geography until they took my class and that I have made it fun for them. I always try to engage my students in the learning and make real-world applications, which allows them to be a part of history instead of merely learning it. To see a student grow in their love for history is very rewarding.”
  • StaggsTiffany Staggs teaches first grade at David Youree. She has been with the district six years.
  • Tiffany and her husband Brandon have three children — Dylan, Camryn and Adasyn.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “I have an opportunity every day to be a positive influence in the lives of little people, inspiring them to love learning, teaching them to read and solve problems, and being the sunshine for them that some of them do not have.”
  • StahrValerie Stahr teaches math and physics and is an ACT coach at Eagleville. She has been with the district 20 years.
  • Valerie and her husband Ron have six children.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Being able to have a little part in helping young people get a good start as they spring-board into life after high school, no matter what that looks like for them. Whether it’s a program of study in college or tech school, or going straight into the workforce.”
  • Williams Jennifer Williams teaches English at Holloway High. She has been with the district 17 years.
  • Jennifer and her husband Lucas have one child, Logan.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Being able to form and keep relationships with students over the many years and being able to see those students become successful.”
  • PerryDr. Amy Perry teaches first and fourth grades at Campus School. She has been with the district 12 years.
  • Amy and her husband Stephen have two sons, Alexander and William.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “There is not a single moment or achievement that I can coin as my greatest achievement. Every smile, hug and positive influence.”
  • QuigleySuzy Quigley teaches fifth grade at John Colemon. She has been with the district four years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Building lasting relationships with my students. I will never forget getting a Facebook message from a former student, who was in college and had self-published two poetry books. She told me that when she was in fourth grade, I constantly told her that she was an amazing writer, which caused her to apply to a creative writing program for high school. This opportunity led her to pursue her dreams in college. … Knowing that I could have had the slightest impact on her college and career goals is the absolute highlight of my teaching career.”
  • Bloom Jessica Bloom is a media specialist at Kittrell. She has been with the district four years.
  • Jessica and her husband Jamie have three children — Zachary, Sydney and Sophia.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Is seen in the students, whom I still have contact with and hearing they knew how important they were to me.”
  • Chumley Marianne Chumley teaches third grade at Lascassas Elementary. She’s been with the district 16 years.
  • Marianne and her husband Daryl have three sons — Kenny, Tate and Garrett.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Instilling a love for mathematics in my students.”
  • Jones William D. Jones teaches United States history at LaVergne High. He has been with the district eight years.
  • William and his wife Ashlin have one daughter, Eleanor, and another one on the way, Charlotte.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Becoming Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year.”
  • Mills Stacia Mills teaches first grade at LaVergne Lake Elementary. She has been with the district five years.
  • Stacia is married to Ben Mills.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Advocating for parents and students, year in and year out.”
  • ArcherShavaughn Archer teaches seventh grade English language arts at LaVergne Middle. She has been with the district four years.
  • BurdetteBergen (Pendleton) Burdette teaches first grade at LaVergne Primary. She has been with the district three years.
  • Bergen and her husband Adam have two children — Warner Pendleton and Bryce Burdette.
  • Wilson Rutherford County Elementary Level Teacher of the Year.
  • Susan Wilson has taught music at McFadden since 1986. She has been with the district 33 years.
  • Susan and her husband Mark have three children.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Contributing to the growth and scope of music education in Rutherford County. I now enjoy having former students as fellow music educators and performers, and I am thankful to have played a role in making the arts an important part of the curriculum in our county.”
  • LeavyDr. LaToya T. Leavy teaches integrated math I and bridge math along with serving as advisor for the National Honor Society and basketball cheer coach at Oakland High. She has been with the district six years.
  • LaToya and her husband Keith Sr. have two children — Isaiah and Leah.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “When I learned the greatest impact on students occurs not only through teaching but through relationships with students.”
  • Hawkins Paige Hawkins teaches eighth grade English language arts at Oakland Middle. She has been with the district 27 years.
  • Paige and her husband Will have three children — Austin, Maddie and Sam.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “The aha moments!”
  • HensleyAngelina Hensley teaches Spanish II honors, Spanish III advanced honors and has been the chairperson of the foreign language department for the past 10 years at Riverdale. She has been with the district for 13 years.
  • Angelina and her husband Jackie have a daughter, Brittany Owen.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Working with the greatest teachers in the state and for my Riverdale faculty to recognize me with this award is an incredible honor.”
  • MorganAshley Morgan teaches English as a second language at Rock Springs Elementary. She has been with the district seven years.
  • Ashley and her husband Michael have two sons—Maddox and McCoy.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Having the privilege to earn the trust of children from across the globe. A trust to learn a new language and a new curriculum, while trying to adjust to high expectations in a new and different environment.”
  • Stirbens Nicole Stirbens teaches sixth, seventh and eighth grades STEM at Rock Springs Middle. She has been with the district seven years.
  • Nicole and her husband Mark, who is also a teacher at Rock Springs Middle, have three children — Tyler, Rylee and Cason.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Receiving this award — there are so many deserving teachers at Rock Springs Middle School.”
  • Smith Christy A. Smith teaches kindergarten at Rockvale Elementary. She has been with the district 13 years.
  • Christy and her husband Keith have two children — Bryan and Ashley.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “I am proud of the relationships I have with my current and former students, parents and co-workers.”
  • Dement Bart Dement teaches English at Rockvale High. He has been with the district seven years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Maintaining relationships with my students so that I get to continue celebrating their life successes after graduation.”
  • ButnerRachel Butner teaches seventh grade social studies at Rockvale Middle. She has been with the district 12 years.
  • Rachel and husband Chris have one daughter — Kinsley.

Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Making history relevant and fun for students. I love to hear kids say they thought they didn’t like history before they entered my class, but I changed their minds.”

  • KeelCrystal Keel teaches fifth grade at Rocky Fork Elementary. She has been with the district 20 years.
  • Crystal and her husband Chas have two children — Casey and Cavrin.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Recently had the opportunity to speak at a Partners in Education Conference for children with and without disabilities. Published an article featuring my class and students in Stronger Together — TN Council on Developmental Disabilities.
  • Anderson Kayla Anderson teaches eighth grade math at Rocky Fork Middle. She has been with the district three years.
  • Kayla and her husband Jacob and one son — Nathan.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Being part of the eighth grade math department at RFM.”
  • SpicerRobbie Ann Spicer teaches English as a second language at Roy Waldron Elementary. She has been with the district 16 years.
  • Robbie and her husband Chad have two children — Chase and Zachary.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Knowing I had a positive impact on the life of a child.”
  • Mosier Kenneth Mosier teaches social studies at Siegel High. He has been with the district nine years.
  • Kenneth is married to Stephanie Zipay.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Having former students remind me why I do what I do. Their thanks outweighs any other award or recognition I could ever receive.”
  • Deal Rutherford County Middle School Level Teacher of the Year.
  • Brandon Deal teaches seventh grade world history at Siegel Middle. He has been with the district 16 years.
  • Brandon and his wife Noel have two children — Madelyn and David.
  • HeadMary Beth Head teaches art at Smyrna Elementary. She has been with the district eight years.
  • Mary Beth and her husband Patrick were recently married in October.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Being able to bring art into the classroom and giving my students an opportunity to experience something they may not have a chance to see otherwise.”
  • NickersonAmy Kay Nickerson teaches English at Smyrna High. She has been with the district 10 years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Working with two AP colleagues to reinvent our curriculum.”
  • Sydney Veronica Sydnor teaches eighth grade math at Smyrna Middle. She has been with the district five years.
  • Veronica is married to Kristofer.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “(Providing students with) confidence, skills and abilities to not only be successful in high school, but also in life in general.”
  • SeymoreBrady Seymore teaches fifth grade English language arts and social studies at Smyrna Primary. He has been with the district seven years.
  • Brady is married to Brett Poe.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “I am proud of the drama program I was able to develop at LaVergne Middle with the help of Mrs. Julie Harlan.”
  • Taylor Candace D. Taylor teaches at Smyrna West. She has been with the district three years.
  • StaffordLeah Stafford teaches third grade at Stewarts Creek Elementary. She has been with the district seven years.
  • Leah and her husband Ryan have two children — Harrison and Hallie.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “The ability to develop trust and relationships with my students.”
  • OttAmy Ott teaches veterinary and animal science at Stewarts Creek High. She has been with the district seven years.
  • Amy is married to Terry Smith.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Influencing and educating successful students, employees and community members, including six doctors of veterinary medicine.”
  • YoungKelly Young teaches sixth-grade social studies at Stewarts Creek Middle. She has been with the district 20 years.
  • Kelly and her husband Chris have two children — McKenna and Easton.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Having a student call me to tell me the ways I had impacted her adult life.”
  • GannonTiffany Gannon teaches second grade at Stewartsboro Elementary. She has been with the district four years.
  • Tiffany is married to Todd.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Creator of the educational website The Lemonade Stand Teacher. I have created and shared teaching tips and best practices for teachers since 2011.”
  • Heard Rosanna Heard teaches fourth grade math at Thurman Francis. She has been with the district 22 years.
  • Rosanna and her husband Ashunte have two boys — Kyran and Kaleph. 
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Instilling a love for math among my students and motivating them to be the best students they can be.”
  • GuiderSheri Guider teaches special education at Walter Hill Elementary. She has been with the district 16 years.
  • Sheri and her husband Richard have three children — Ethan, Jonah and Elizabeth.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Teacher of the Year.”
  • RobertsDedrick Roberts teaches eighth grade English language arts at Whitworth-Buchanan Middle. He has been with the district 13 years.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Having former students return and tell me that I helped them become successful in life or that I helped them at their lowest point. Also, when former students tell me that I inspired them to go into education as classroom teachers. Not to mention, this current honor that I truly appreciate.”
  • UrbanCassie Urban teaches first grade at Wilson Elementary. She has been with the district eight years.
  • Cassie and her husband Jason have three daughters — Addison, Ella and Isabelle.
Greatest Achievement as an Educator: “Lebanon Special School District Elementary Level Teacher of the Year.”