Cookeville Rotary names Excellence in Teaching Awards 

From the left is Phillip Baker, Rotary Club of Cookeville Excellence in Teaching Committee Chair; Alex Shanks, third place award winner; Stephen Simmons, first place award winner; Lacy Means, second place award winner; President of Rotary Club of Cookeville Brandon Parrish; and Director of Putnam County Schools Corby King.

PUTNAM COUNTY – The Rotary Club of Cookeville held its Excellence in Teaching program on Wednesday, Apr. 13. Cookeville Rotarians set aside a special day each year to honor those Putnam County teachers who truly make a difference in the lives of our young people. 

Colleagues within Putnam County schools select their nominees for the 19th Annual Rotary Excellence in Teaching Award. Applications are grouped by PK-4, 5-9 and 9-12. Those nominated submit a written response about their style of teaching, describing those experiences, values and practices most responsible for their success. All names and schools are removed from the application and scored by a panel of judges. The three finalists are selected and awarded $1,000, $500 and $300. 

“This is always an exciting time to welcome some of the best teachers to our meeting,” said President of Cookeville Rotary Brandon Parrish. “We have outstanding educators in our schools, and I am sure it was hard for colleagues to choose just one teacher in their school. I know it is hard to judge the applications we receive. We are fortunate to have innovative, passionate and high-quality teachers in our schools. Congratulations to each nominee and our Excellence in Teaching award winners.” 

This year’s Rotary Club of Cookeville’s Excellence in Teaching Award recipients are: 

First place – Stephen Simmons, Capshaw Elementary School 

Second place – Lacy Means, Putnam County VITAL (Virtual Instruction to Accentuate Learning) 

Third place – Alex Shanks, Prescott South Middle School

“We have 850 certified teachers in our district, and on this list of nominees are some of the best of the best,” said Corby King, Director of Putnam County Schools. “Thank you to Rotary for the opportunity to recognize our teachers and education and for all you do for our community.” 

First place Excellence in Teaching award winner, Mr. Stephen Simmons, said, “I see people in this room who have influenced me throughout my career. There is nothing like being in the classroom. Thank you very much. It is an honor.” 

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