The overall winner will be honored and named at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet and ceremony April 13 in Baird Chapel on the Cumberland University campus.
The Teacher of the Year program began almost 21 years ago under the direction of W.P. Bone III, owner of Wilson County Chevrolet-Buick-GMC, and Bob McDonald, president and CEO of CedarStone Bank.
“This program supports educators and spotlights education in the communities we serve,” said Bone. “It is and honor and very fitting that we recognize and congratulate those professionals to whom we entrust the futures of our children.”
Each of the 32 schools in Wilson County nominates and elects its own “teacher of the year” from its faculty. The nominees are chosen by their peers. Those 32 teachers then complete self-evaluation packets, providing the information for the final judging. Past winners of the award meet with the nominees and go over the criteria processing materials, which have proven to be a great learning experience for all those involved. An anonymous panel of Cumberland University faculty members then selects the Wilson County Teacher of the Year.
“Many people play an important role in making the program successful, including members of local businesses and government, school principals, school administrators and the chambers of commerce from Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown,” McDonald said. “Community leaders throughout the area are on hand during the awards banquet to show their support and gratitude.
“It’s hard to believe we are now in our 20th year, and more than 21 years ago, my friend, W.P. Bone, and I sat down and discussed the possibilities of building a program like this to honor teachers in our county. The planning process took us about a year to complete, and now in our 20th year, we are still proud of this program and the wonderful teachers it acknowledges as heroes and champions in the classroom.”
The winner will receive a $1,500 prize, and his or her school will net another $500 for their efforts.
Those selected from across Wilson County as teachers of the year in their respective schools and nominees for Wilson County Teacher of the Year include Tomekia Marshall from Byars-Dowdy Elementary School, Stacy Taylor from Carroll-Oakland School, Jamie Ricketts from Castle Heights Elementary School, Cassie Urban from Coles Ferry Elementary School, Kim Gaines from Elzie D. Patton Elementary School, Terri Rice from Friendship Christian School, Patty Hunter from Gladeville Elementary School, Danya Watson Cole from Lakeview Elementary School, Eric Spear from Lebanon High School, Jada Dixon from MAP Academy, Carie McDonald from Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, Tracy Brown from Mt. Juliet Elementary School, Eric Trusty from Mt. Juliet High School, Jessica Gray from Mt. Juliet Middle School, Joni Stone from Rutland Elementary School, Brenda Blevins from Sam Houston Elementary School, Leesa Hubbard from Southside School, Tammy Pardue from Springdale Elementary School, Veda Dalton Hamrick from Stoner Creek Elementary School, Ramona Wright, from Tuckers Crossroads School, Taimi R. Reese from W.A. Wright Elementary School, Hannah Petty from Walter J. Baird Middle School, Karen McDonald from Watertown Elementary School, Laura Spingler from Watertown High School, Carrie R. Thompson from Watertown Middle School, Leslie Brumback from West Elementary School, Lori Shelton from West Wilson Middle School, Marcie Polk from Wilson Central High School, Kristi Galligan from Wilson County Adult High School and Jessica Johns from Winfree Bryant Middle School.