Skip to Main Content


Tennessee Announces 2018-19 Teacher of the Year Finalists

Nine Finalists Move Forward for State Recognition, Serve on Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council
Thursday, May 31, 2018 | 11:25am

NASHVILLE—The Tennessee Department of Education today announced the nine finalists for the 2018-19 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award. The finalists represent each Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) area in the state, with three finalists in each Grand Division (West, Middle, and East). Grand Division winners including the Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group and announced during an honorary banquet this fall, following a panel interview with each finalist.

"Teaching is some of the hardest, most rewarding work there is, and because of our educators and their commitment to an excellent education for all, more Tennessee students are prepared for their next steps in school and in life," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. “It is a great honor to recognize these educators from across our state for the ways each of them are proving what is possible in our classrooms. Because of teachers like these nine finalists, Tennessee will continue to be a national leader in student gains and outcomes.”

The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the year. To qualify, candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least three years, have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning, and be effective school and community leaders. The nine finalists for 2018-19 Teacher of the Year are:  

West Tennessee
CORE Region Teacher School District
Michael Robinson
Houston High 
Germantown Municipal School District
Carlin McGlown
Munford Middle
Tipton County Schools
Valerie Godina
Henry Elementary
Henry County Schools
Middle Tennessee
CORE Region Teacher School District
Mid Cumberland Melissa Miller Franklin Elementary Franklin Special School District
South Central Michael Franklin Franklin County High Franklin County Schools
Upper Cumberland Susan Reeder Union Heights Elementary Smith County Schools
East Tennessee
CORE Region Teacher School District
Southeast Lori Farley North City Elementary Athens City Schools
East Tennessee Bryan Schultz L&N Stem Academy Knox County Schools
First Tennessee Amy Whaley Morristown-Hamblen High
School West
Hamblen County Schools

These finalists will have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council for duration of the 2018-19 school year. This council acts as a working group of expert teachers to provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the school year. Additionally, to provide continuity and leadership, the three Grand Division winners will continue their term during the 2019-20 school year.

For more information, on the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program, visit the department’s website or contact Sylvia Flowers, executive director of educator talent at (615) 253-6023 or For media inquiries, contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at (615) 532-­-6260 or