Warren County’s Blalock named as Tennessee ‘Teacher of the Year’ finalist

NASHVILLE —Warren County High School’s Erin Blalock has been named a finalist for the 2021-22 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award. She was one of nine finalists statewide announced today by the Tennessee Department of Education. Blalock is a registered nurse who teaches CTE Health Science and coaches the Lady Pioneer volleyball team. She was named Warren County Schools Teacher of the Year in February.

 “Teaching is a gift that keeps on giving and there is no greater gift than a gifted teacher,” said Deputy Speaker Janice Bowling. “I congratulate Erin Blalock for being chosen as a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year and for being such a gifted teacher.”

The nine finalists for Tennessee Teacher of the Year represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area, with three finalists in each Grand Division: West, Middle and East.

“Through perseverance, determination and a commitment to providing all our students with a high-quality education, our Tennessee educators have gone above and beyond the call of the duty this past school year,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “I am thrilled to honor these nine teachers for their incredible work leading up to this moment and especially throughout the past several months. Our state is home to dedicated teachers who embody the Volunteer spirit and give their all for our students each and every day.” 

The finalists for 2021-22 Tennessee Teacher of the Year are:  

West Tennessee

TeacherSchool District CORE Region 
John FrizzellRiverdale Elementary SchoolGermantown MunicipalSchool DistrictShelby/Municipals
Brianne MatheneyChester CountyHigh SchoolChester County SchoolsSouthwest
Danielle VanCleaveSharon SchoolWeakley County SchoolsNorthwest

Middle Tennessee

TeacherSchool District CORE Region 
Laura Lavery BoydPoplar Grove Middle SchoolFranklin SpecialSchool DistrictMid Cumberland
Robyn OlsonRichland SchoolGiles County SchoolsSouth Central
Erin BlalockWarren County High SchoolWarren County SchoolsUpper Cumberland

East Tennessee

TeacherSchoolDistrict CORE Region 
Sheron SmithArnold Memorial Elementary SchoolCleveland City SchoolsSoutheast
Elizabeth EvansGrand Oaks Elementary School Anderson County SchoolsEast Tennessee
Morgan RankinSouth Side SchoolJohnson City SchoolsFirst Tennessee

“I am so pleased Erin Blalock received this recognition,” said State Rep. Rush Bricken.“She has a love for teaching, helping her students and her community.  I know Warren County and the Morrison community are very proud of her.”

Nominations of up to three educators representing each of the three grade bands were accepted from the state’s school districts. Out of more than 237 applications, 27 regional semifinalists were identified by CORE region selection committees and the nine finalists were then selected by a state-level selection committee.

Teacher of the Year candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least three years. Additionally, they are evaluated based on having a track record of exceptional gains in student learning and being effective school and community leaders.

Grand Division winners and, ultimately, the Tennessee Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group of finalists and announced during an honorary celebration this fall following a panel interview with each finalist.

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 2021-22 school year.

Finalists will also have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner Schwinn’s Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2021-22 school year. The council is composed of expert teachers who provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the academic year. 

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

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