COOKEVILLE – Heavenly Host Lutheran School (HHLS) has named Amy Underwood and Sarah Kinnaird “Teachers of the Year” for the 2020-2021 school year. Underwood is the social studies and physical education teacher serving grades kindergarten through 8, and Kinnaird is the lead teacher for 2-year-olds in the school’s Early Childhood Center.
Underwood is from Meigs County and a graduate of Tennessee Tech University. She earned her Bachelor of Science in exercise science, physical education and wellness (EXPW) with a concentration in K-12 education, a Master of Arts in EXPW with a concentration in middle school education, and a Master of Arts in EXPW sports management. She started her teaching career at HHLS 10 years ago and couldn’t imagine having another profession.
“Teaching is rewarding and a challenge all rolled into one,” said Underwood. “I find it very rewarding to be able to pour into students and see them achieve things that they never thought they could do. One of my favorite and most rewarding parts of my job is getting to teach them about Christ.”
In addition to her teaching schedule, Underwood is the school’s sponsor for the extra-curricular activities of Junior Beta Club, P.E. Club and Breakfast with Jesus Bible study group. She is also the co-founder of NextGen, an organization that travels to different locations to promote physical education-type games and activities for kids while sharing the Gospel.
“We are so proud to bestow this honor on Ms. Amy,” said Dr. Zachary Murphy, director of schools for HHLS. “She builds incredible relationships with students and families and has a huge heart for ministry. We are blessed to have her in our lives and on our campus.”
Kinnaird is a native of Cookeville. She earned her Child Development Associate credential and will be pursuing higher education goals. She has been teaching in the Early Childhood Center for five years. Kinnaird has always recognized the importance of the early years of a child’s care and education, which can greatly impact future learning success.
“It is truly a blessing having the job I do,” said Kinnaird. “I love seeing the children learn so much in the first few years. Knowing I can shape little minds to help them grow and succeed in their coming years is so rewarding to me.”
Terri Blyly, associate director – preschool, said she is so pleased to recognize Kinnaird with this award. “Mrs. Sarah exhibits so much enthusiasm for leading, teaching, and caring for the children in her room,” said Blyly. “She is dedicated to working with each child individually, to each child’s family and to her co-workers. We truly appreciate her.”
This is the inaugural year for the presentation of the awards. HHLS serves grades PK-4 through 12th and infants through PK-3 in the Early Childhood Center. For over 25 years, its mission has been to provide students with Christ-centered teaching and excellent academics that prepare them for service to God, community and family.