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2014 Teachers and Principals of the Year

In the first of two celebrations this week of Nashville’s best educators, Metro Schools is proud to announce the 2014 Teachers and Principals of the Year. Many of the district’s top educators are being honored tonight at Lipscomb University with an elegant dinner and awards ceremony.

Out of 140 school-level Teachers of the Year, these three were chosen as the district-wide winners:

  • Tanisha Wesby from Shwab Elementary School – Elementary School Teacher of the Year Ms. Wesby teaches first grade at Shwab. Her teaching philosophy is built on the premise that "Every child has a gift to share!" and she has applied this philosophy for the more than 15 years she has taught in Metro Schools. She promotes parent communication as one of the most essential elements of a strong classroom and communicates with parents daily. Ms. Wesby believes every child is different, but that there is always a tool that can be used to bring out his or her gifts. It is the teacher’s job to find that tool.
  • Kyle Alexander from Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School – Middle School Teacher of the Year Mr. Alexander teaches social studies and geography and is an instructional leader at MLK and in Metro Schools, serving on both the school’s Leadership Team and as Seventh Grade Team Leader. He is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher who leads professional courses for his colleagues to help improve their classroom skills and understand changes in instruction. He is an adjunct instructor for Peabody College at Vanderbilt University and was the first in his school to complete the All-Star training.
  • Melissa Brooks – Hunters Lane High School – High School Teacher of the Year Ms. Brooks teaches U.S. History and is an instructional leader at Hunters Lane. She serves on the Leadership Council and is team leader for the Academy of Design and Technology. She believes in collaboration among teachers for student success, and meets regularly with her team to look at student performance and plan lessons, assessments and interventions. She regularly finds fun ways to involve her students in class, like dressing up in period costumes for history lessons and using a tournament bracket to teach about how the New Deal helped end the Great Depression.

Also honored at tonight’s dinner, the 2014 Principals of the year are:

  • Lori Donahue from Granbery Elementary School – Elementary School Principal of the Year Ms. Donahue is a long-time and beloved principal. For many years she has shepherded a neighborhood school to great achievement. On the latest Academic Performance Framework, Granbery earned very high marks in every category, including school climate as determined by teacher and student surveys. She welcomes and values every member of the school community and works diligently to foster parental involvement and community support.
  • Dr. Antoinette Williams from Gra-Mar Middle Prep – Middle School Principal of the Year Dr. Williams is finishing her third year at Gra-Mar and has driven the school through an innovative period that saw a number of new strategies for dramatic gains in achievement. She is student-focused, and under her leadership students have made gains. She started her career as a journalist but felt a calling to education where she felt she could help children live and prosper in their communities.
  • Dr. Steve Chauncy from Hillwood High School – High School Principal of the Year Dr. Chauncy has led Hillwood High School since 2008 with a relentless focus on academic achievement. The graduation rate at Hillwood is the best among the district’s zoned high schools at 84%, and test scores have also made dramatic improvements. All three of Hillwood’s Academies are designated national models, and the school boasts 17 Advanced Placement classes. Dr. Chauncy was named “Academies of Nashville Principal of the Year” in 2012. Perhaps most importantly, he is liked and respected by his students, faculty and parents.

“The Teacher of the Year program is a long-standing tradition in Metro Schools,” said Chief Human Capital Officer Susan Thompson. “These teachers have been held up by their peers as the best. That is significant not just because of the enormous respect they have for each other, but because it shows us what kinds of qualities they value in their schools.”

Teachers of the Year are nominated by their colleagues in the classroom, and finalists and district-wide winners are chosen by a committee of district administrators and educators. The program honors teachers and school leaders for the difference they make in students’ lives.

“Metro teachers are professionals who deserve our respect every day of the year,” said Director of Schools Dr. Jesse Register. “Teacher of the Year isn’t just a celebration of the 140 teachers at the event, it’s a way for us to honor all of the great educators who work so hard for Nashville’s families all year long and who are making Metro Schools the first choice for families.”

While Teacher of the Year is a district-led celebration of exceptional teachers, later this week the greater Nashville community will do the same with the announcement of the first class of Blue Ribbon Teachers. Community and education leaders not employed by Metro Schools selected the recipients through a blind review of more than 300 nominations from community members.

See the complete list of all school-level Teachers of the Year