Tullahoma Names District Teachers of the Year

Tullahoma City Schools recently announced its three district Teacher of the Year winners, and the district plans to celebrate all 10 building-level Teacher of the Year candidates at the January TCS Board of Education meeting.

“The Tullahoma Board of Education is excited to recognize our TCS Teachers of the Year. These 10 individuals go above and beyond in their teaching and are extremely dedicated to their students,” said Kim Uselton, TCS Board Chairman. “All of these teachers are greatly admired and appreciated, and we look forward to celebrating them on Jan. 16.”

TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens, celebrates with Dr Niki Tuten

TCS had four elementary teachers nominated for the district’s Elementary Teacher of the Year. Those finalists were Dr. Niki Tuten from Bel-Aire, Margaret Kane from East Lincoln Elementary School, Tracy Butner from Jack T. Farrar Elementary School, and Jennifer Wofford from Robert E. Lee Elementary School.

Voting for district winners at each grade band (elementary, middle, and high school) was conducted in early January. District supervisors, administrators, and last year’s District Teachers of the Year helped select the 2024 recipients. After the votes were tallied, the winner was announced, and Dr. Niki Tuten is the 2024 TCS Elementary Teacher of the Year.

“It is such an honor to be voted Teacher of the Year by my peers,” said Dr. Tuten, the behavior modification teacher at Bel-Aire. “Being district teacher of the year was definitely a career goal of mine, and to actually attain it has been so exciting. There are so many excellent and deserving teachers in our district, so to be recognized by the district is humbling. My favorite part of this job is seeing success and growth in each one of my students and knowing that my team and I play a part in it. I have a great team – Ms. Amber Smith and Mr. Colin Shuran – that I get to work with daily who pour their hearts and patience into their job which can be very challenging at times. I am thankful for the team we have created, and together, we want nothing more than for our students to be successful socially, emotionally, and academically.”

Franklin Cammack gets emotional while being honored by Dr Stephens.

Two candidates were nominated for the district’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Those finalists were Rachel Cunningham from East Middle School and Franklin Cammack from West Middle School. Following voting, this year’s TCS Middle School Teacher of the Year is Franklin Cammack.

“This is validation that what I am doing matters. Being selected by my colleagues and then the district leaders to represent TCS tells me that they do notice and acknowledge the work I’m doing,” said Cammack, who teaches computer literacy and is the school’s Future Business Leaders of America adviser. “Personally, my heart and soul needed this. My favorite part about being a teacher is having the ability to provide experiences that could change the course of a student’s life. The strongest learning doesn’t necessarily come from the lessons in the classroom but from career exploration trips, community service projects, or FBLA conferences. Those experiences can ignite a passion in those kids, and I get to help them become the best version of themselves. It is the greatest feeling in the world when you see them as adults, and they tell you how much of an impact you’ve made.”

Dr Stephens congratulates Christy Allen

Four finalists were contenders for the district’s High School Teacher of the Year. Tullahoma High School had three of those candidates, Christy Allen, Sharon Woodard, and Casey Locklear, while Whitney Morris was nominated from Tullahoma Virtual Academy. After voting, Christy Allen was named TCS High School Teacher of the Year.

“I’m honored to be chosen by my fellow educators as the High School Teacher of the Year,” said Allen, a freshman English teacher. “This recognition reflects my passion for teaching young people, and my students are the reason I possess this passion. They inspire me to continue learning and growing as a teacher so that I can be my best for them. They are my favorite part of being a teacher. I take the privilege of teaching the next generation very seriously. My goal is to help my students see the potential in themselves that I see in them every day.”

The January TCS Board of Education meeting will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at the TCS Administration Building, located at 510 S Jackson St. The Board meeting officially begins at 5 p.m.

“The celebration of our teachers is something I look forward to every year,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “We have some incredible educators in Tullahoma. Highlighting and recognizing these 10 individuals is something that I’m eagerly awaiting in January.”

Lucky Knott

Lucky Knott

One of Southern Tennessee's most experienced and recognized news broadcasters and play-by-play sportscasters. News and Sports Director for Rooster 101.5 FM, 93.9 The Duck and Whiskey Country 105.1, and 95.9. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the Coffee County Red Raiders (31 years) on The Rooster 101.5 and can be heard M-F broadcasting our local news. Lucky has done play-by-play for 3,932 (and counting) sports events on Radio & TV. He also served four years as the Public Information Officer for the Coffee Co. Sheriff's Dept. and taught Radio/TV for six years at Grundy County High School.

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