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:
|John Frizzell||Riverdale Elementary School||Germantown MunicipalSchool District||Shelby/Municipals|
|Brianne Matheney||Chester CountyHigh School||Chester County Schools||Southwest|
|Danielle VanCleave||Sharon School||Weakley County Schools||Northwest|
|Laura Lavery Boyd||Poplar Grove Middle School||Franklin SpecialSchool District||Mid Cumberland|
|Robyn Olson||Richland School||Giles County Schools||South Central|
|Erin Blalock||Warren County High School||Warren County Schools||Upper Cumberland|
|Sheron Smith||Arnold Memorial Elementary School||Cleveland City Schools||Southeast|
|Elizabeth Evans||Grand Oaks Elementary School||Anderson County Schools||East Tennessee|
|Morgan Rankin||South Side School||Johnson City Schools||First 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.