Apple named 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year finalist   

Nine finalists move forward for state recognition to serve on Tennessee Teacher Advisory Council  

NASHVILLE —Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced Aleta Apple, White County teacher at Woodland Park Elementary, was one of nine finalists for the 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award. 

The nine finalists represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area. The 2022-23 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and winners for each grand division of the state, will be selected from this group and announced during an honorary banquet this fall. 

“Educators are the backbone of Tennessee schools and communities, and have continued to demonstrate their dedication, professionalism and unmatched passion to educating our students,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “I am proud to recognize these nine teachers who have gone above and beyond to ensure Tennessee students are set up for success.”

Tennessee’s nine finalists for 2022-23 Teacher of the Year are:   

“Tennessee teachers are innovative, knowledgeable, passionate and committed to helping the students of Tennessee thrive,” said Morgan Rankin, 2021-22 Teacher of the Year, Johnson City Schools, First Region. “Reaching this point in this journey is no small feat, for our schools are full of educators who work tirelessly for their students. These educators represent the best of the best and should be proud of their accomplishments and embrace all that it brings. I am proud to celebrate each one of them.”   

Nominations of up to three educators representing each of the three grade bands were accepted from the state’s school districts. The Tennessee Teacher of the Year and Grand Division winners will be selected after interview rounds with each finalist.

Finalists will have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner Schwinn’s Tennessee Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2022-23 school year. The council is composed of expert teachers who provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the academic year.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year awardee will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the 2022-23 school 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.

To learn more about the Tennessee Teacher of the Year award, click here.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, email

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