Tennessee Announces 2023-24 Tennessee Teacher of the Year 

Friday, August 25, 2023 | 08:00pm


Rogersville City Schools Educator Takes Top State Teaching Honor   

Nashville, TN— This evening, the Tennessee Department of Education announced Missy Testerman, an educator from Rogersville City Schools known for her compassion and dedication to her students and community, was named the 2023-24 Tennessee Teacher of the Year at the department’s annual Excellence in Education celebration.

Missy Testerman, an English as a Second Language instructor at Rogersville Elementary School in Rogersville City Schools, has been teaching for 31 years and is viewed as a leader, mentor, and advocate in her school. She serves as President of the Rogersville Education Association, is on the Rogersville City School Teacher Leadership team, is a mentor for new teachers, and participates in the Readers are Leaders Program. Additionally, she serves as the Summer Camps Coordinator for Rogersville City Schools and serves on multiple boards and committees in the school and the community.

“Congratulations to all the educators honored at the Teacher of the Year celebration,” said Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education. “Each awardee demonstrates excellence in education and serves as a model on how to support their students and communities. I am especially thrilled to congratulate Ms. Testerman as the Tennessee Teacher of the Year and look forward to working with her in the year to come.”  

Missy Testerman will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the 2023-24 school year. She follows the 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Dr. Melissa Collins, a second-grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Memphis-Shelby County Schools. 

“It is an exciting time to be a teacher in Tennessee as we continue to teach, inspire, and motivate our students,” said Dr. Melissa Collins, 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, John P. Freeman Optional School, Memphis-Shelby County Schools. “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Missy Testerman as the next Teacher of the Year. She will have an amazing opportunity to represent our Tennessee educators, families, and students. I commend her commitment to moving our state forward by helping to create an educational system that ensures best practices for all students. On behalf of all Tennessee educators, I extend our well-wishes and support throughout your upcoming year of service.”

During the event, the department also recognized finalists who were named Teacher of the Year for the three grand divisions of the state. Sandra Howard, an English language arts teacher at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, was recognized as the grand division winner for East Tennessee. Sondra Wilson-Martin, a 4th grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School in Franklin Special School District, was recognized as the grand division winner for Middle Tennessee. Marinda Hildenbrandt, an 8th grade teacher at South Haven Elementary in Henderson County Schools, was recognized as the grand division winner for West Tennessee.

The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) was the program sponsor for the event and is a dedicated supporter of the Teacher of the Year program.

“It is an honor to partner with the Tennessee Department of Education to recognize our exceptional teachers across the state,” said Dr. Dale Lynch, Executive Director of TOSS, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. “The Tennessee Teacher of the Year exemplifies the very best of this noble calling, embodying unwavering dedication, creativity, and a passion for shaping and nurturing the minds of our future leaders. With every lesson taught, every question answered, and every encouraging word spoken, they ignite a spark of curiosity and foster a love for learning that transcends the classroom. This exceptional educator not only imparts knowledge but also cultivates dreams and guides students on their unique journeys of growth. As we honor the 2023 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, let us celebrate their profound impact, tireless commitment, and boundless inspiration that radiates hope and promise into the future." 

To qualify for Teacher of the Year, 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. Districts were able to nominate one educator from each grade band. From over 260 applications, 27 regional semi-finalists were identified by a statewide selection committee and nine finalists were selected from this group.

All nine finalists will also serve on the department’s Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2023-24 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. For information regarding the nine 2023-24 finalists, click here

To learn more about the Tennessee Teacher Advisory Council, click here. For more information on the Tennessee Teacher of the Year award, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov