Caroline Sharp, a drama teacher at Oliver Middle Prep in Nashville, has been named the 2017 Teacher of the Year by the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

In addition to directing an annual musical through Disney Musicals in Schools, one of TPAC Education’s six arts education programs, Sharp collaborates with professional TPAC teaching artists in her classroom and brings students to performances at the arts center, where she also participates in professional development workshops for educators.

Now in its 23rd year, the award recognizes excellence in arts education and includes a $500 grant for the recipient’s school.

“A teacher as dedicated and encouraging as Caroline Sharp is a gem in today’s busy, over-committed world,” said Jessica Mitchell, whose daughter attends Oliver Middle School. “She deserves to be honored for improving the school’s drama program, producing exemplary musicals and, most of all, for positively impacting thousands of students. She makes a difference in the lives of her students every day.”

Participation in producing a Disney musical at Oliver Middle Preparatory School has quadrupled since its first year with the program in 2014. This past school year, 132 students joined the cast and crew for a school production of Disney’s Peter Pan JR. Their rehearsal schedule included four-hour sessions on select Friday nights, when dozens of parents came to the school to work on sets and costumes while the children practiced.

In 2016, Sharp was named a Blue Ribbon Teacher by Metro Nashville Public Schools and Teacher of the Year by Oliver Middle School, where she has taught for 13 years. She serves on the Metro Arts Content Council Committee and as a peer reviewer for the state department of education’s portfolio evaluation initiative. A graduate of Henry County High School in Paris, Tennessee, she attended Drury University and the University of Texas and did postgraduate work at Belmont University.