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Teachers of the Year 2014

February 25, 2014

Knox County Schools honored their Teachers of the Year at the annual banquet February 25. Pictured at left are the Knox County Teachers of the Year winners (l-r) Merry Anderson, (Karns Middle) Knox County Middle School Teacher of the year, Leslie Howe (Farragut High) High School Teacher of the Year, Kristin Risdahl (Brickey-McCloud Elementary) Elementary School Teacher of the year.

"Research shows that perhaps the most important factor in student learning is the quality of the instruction the student receives," said Dr. James McIntyre. "Our success, therefore, depends on having an outstanding educator in front of every classroom. Excellence for All Children means Excellence in Every Classroom."

A closer look at district winners
District Winners will continue on in the competition for Tennessee's Teacher of the Year in each of the three categories: Elementary, Middle, and High School.

The following remarks were taken from the introductions at the Teacher of the Year Banquet.

Knox County Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Kristin Risdahl
(4th grade, Brickey-McCloud Elementary School)
This talented individual has been a teacher for nine years, all of which have been given at Brickey-McCloud Elementary School. She is the fourth-grade Advisory Team chairperson and leads the Brickey-McCloud social studies vertical planning team. This extraordinary teacher also is the Knox County Schools Professional Development Specialist in social studies and is currently writing new social studies curriculum for Common Core State Standards. She gives her times as a mentor both for other fourth-grade teachers and to a University of Tennessee intern.

She brings creativity into the classroom by dressing up as historical characters throughout the year. She strives to engage students through a cooperative-learning teaching style and ensures her classroom is a safe, respectful environment. This educator gives her time to plan the school-wide talent show, assist with the Brickey- McCloud chorus and serve the AAA Safety Patrol. She also voluntarily does bus check-off every day after school!

Knox County Middle School Teacher of the Year
Merry Anderson
(8th, grade Karns Middle School)

Enthusiasm, energy and a joyful perspective are tools used by this talented individual to have a positive impact on her students. With 19 years’ experience in the classroom, this teacher currently teaches reading at Karns Middle School. There, she is a Lead Teacher, serves on the Leadership Team, Mentoring Team and Data Team and is a Grade-Level Team Leader and department chair. This leader also serves as a Common Core Coach for ELA, PLC facilitator, mentor for interns from several area colleges and presenter at conferences, in-service training and professional development sessions.

She also was an APEX Award recipient this year. This educator uses graphic organizers, differentiated learning, cooperative groups, individualized instruction, close reading, scaffolded instruction and accountable talk, among other techniques, to ensure student understanding and mastery. An active member of her community, she serves the school’s PTSA and worldwide educational efforts, including the Children’s International Summer Village.


Knox County High School Teacher of the Year
Leslie Howe
(Computer Science, Farragut High School)

The High School winner is a pioneer, an adventurer and a vital member of her school community. With 35 years in the classroom, she has served her school as an invaluable technology resource—or as her colleagues say, a technology expert—for the past 18 years. She teaches AP computer science for 10th through 12th grades, AP Calculus AB for seniors and CP geometry for sophomores. But her work as Building-Level Technology Coordinator and her dedication to the school’s math lab, touch every student and every teacher in all grades. This teacher is beloved by her students because she sees their relationship as that of craftsman and apprentice and assures her students that she will rejoice when their skills surpass hers.

Her impressive knowledge of technology and her ability to write original computer programs have assisted not only teachers and students in her own school but also those at many other schools throughout the Knox County Schools. Her dedication to helping students succeed extends through her own web site, which offers free activities that can help students master number facts. She also mentors students of families in her church. She believes in the adventure of education through the use of technology.


Here is a complete list of Knox County Schools Teachers of the Year at each school:

Elementary Grade Pre-K - 4
Kelly Fawver Adrian Burnett Elementary
Erin Kapp Amherst Elementary
Sara Ramos Amherst Elementary
Anne Cannon Crais Ball Camp Elementary
Deborah Hulsey Bearden Elementary
Kimara Reuss Beaumont Magnet Academy
Betty Hall Belle Morris Elementary
Barbara Gazaway Blue Grass Elementary
Millie Knight Blue Grass Elementary
Carol Jane Rule Bonny Kate Elementary
Patti Lou Bounds Brickey-McCloud Elementary
Kristin Lee Risdahl Brickey-McCloud Elementary
Denise Strunk Brickey-McCloud Elementary
Zel Bond Cedar Bluff Elementary
Mandy Dye Cedar Bluff Elementary
Andrew J. Klicka Cedar Bluff Elementary
Alisa Ternes Cedar Bluff Elementary
Felecia Sharp Christenberry Elementary
Susie Baker Christenberry Elementary
Scarlett Hopkins Householder Dogwood Elementary
Tammy J. Lohren Dogwood Elementary
Angela Velazquez Dogwood Elementary
Steven Simpson East Knox County Elementary
Kelly Lynaugh Fair Garden Preschool
Susan Cobb Farragut Intermediate
Chris Davis Farragut Intermediate
Erin Tharp Farragut Intermediate
Laura Mitchell Farragut Primary
Sarah Emilee Young Farragut Primary
Susan Foster Fountain City Elementary
Rebecca White Gap Creek Elementary
Tammy D. Farmer Gibbs Elementary
Robyn Froning Gibbs Elementary
Mary Wolfenbarger Gibbs Elementary
Edward Moore Green Margnet Elementary
Bonnie Bentley Halls Elementary
Lauren Hopson Halls Elementary
Kathy McGinnis Halls Elementary
Sandra Guinn Hardin Valley Elementary
Mary-Barlett Smythe Hardin Valley Elementary
Allison Campbell Karns Elementary
Diane Eubanks Karns Elementary
Virginia LaRue Karns Elementary
Debbie Smith Karns Elementary
Haley Kesler Lonsdale Elementary
Valerie Bachmann Maynard Elementary
Amber Sawyer Mooreland Heights Elementary
Sandy Hale Mount Olive Elementary
Sherrie Young New Hopewell Elementary
Jessica Greer Northshore Elementary
Cindy Smith Northshore Elementary
Josh Van Pelt Norwood Elementary
Brian Patton Pleasant Ridge Elementary
Kristin Ladha Pond Gap Elementary
Jamie Ruth Terry Powell Elementary
Donnie R. Woods Powell Elementary
Lauren Allen Ritta Elementary
Tonya M. Lewis Ritta Elementary
Dodie Givens Rocky Hill Elementary
Buffy Hensley Sam E. Hill Pre-School
Kathy Coyne Sarah Moore Greene Magnet
Rebecca Ratledge Sarah Moore Greene Magnet
Megan Robinson Sarah Moore Greene Magnet
Melissa Irwin Sequoyah Elementary
Nilda Carrasquillo South Knox Elementary
Donna Barnes Spring Hill Elementary
Tara Ezell Spring Hill Elementary
Linda Shanton Sterchi Elementary
Joni Morabito Sunnyview Primary
Becky Barnes West Haven Elementary
Diane Przybyszewski West Hills Elementary
Denise Rust West Hills Elementary
Middle Schools Grade 5-8
Eddie Kilby Adrian Burnett Elementary
Nancy H. Dunn A.L. Lotts Elementary
Karla Fultz A.L. Lotts Elementary
Sarah Mercer Beaumont Magnet Academy
Susan Hatcher Bearden Middle
Judith K. Holman Bearden Middle
Suzanne Darden Carter Elementary
Julia Olive Carter Middle
Marta Shults Carter Middle
Abigail Buczynski   Cedar Bluff Middle
Joanna Hood Chilhowee Intermediate
Sherrie Dudley Corryton Elementary
Beverly Douglas East Knox Elementary
Karen Holst Farragut Middle
Cindy Hutson Farragut Middle
Ellen Smartt Manning Farragut Middle
Mark Taylor Farragut Middle
Kiley Gray Gresham Middle
Bryan Paschal Gresham Middle
Romy Reed Halls Elementary
Shelley Weiss Hardin Valley Elementary
Jeannine Griffin    Holston Middle
Paula Jones Holston Middle
Tia Smith Holston Middle
Olivia Davis Inskip Elementary
Merry B. Anderson Karns Middle
Teresa O. King Karns Middle
Tammy B. Tipton Karns Middle
Mary Lynn Tollison Karns Middle
Suzann Goldman KAEC
Tiffany Flood Northwest Middle
Cheryl Robertson Northwest Middle
Michelle Staal Northwest Middle
Julie Killian Powell Middle
Crystal Moore Powell Middle
Kristy Roop Powell Middle
Christina Hiller Ridgedale Alternative
Melanie Ownby Shannondale Elementary
Joy Hina South-Doyle Middle School
Rhonda P. Hood South-Doyle Middle School
Steve Mosadegh South-Doyle Middle School
Bryan Schultz South-Doyle Middle School
Jessica McDonald Vine Middle School
Lesley Paige Miller Vine Middle School
Lindsay A. McSween West Valley Middle School
Sherry Storms West Valley Middle School
Bobby J. Wells West Valley Middle School
Tiffany Strasser West View Elementary
LaDonna Knight Whittle Springs Middle School
Laura Walston Whittle Springs Middle School
High School Grades 9-12
Donna Brunson Austin-East High
Dino Orucevic Austin-East High
Ramona Mangelsdorf Austin-East High
Megan Christian Bearden High
Connie Francis Bearden High
Dr. Charles T. Frye, Jr.  Bearden High
Tonya Henke Bearden High
Tammy McKibben Bearden High
Laurie Price Bearden High
Cynthia Hutchens Byington-Solway CTE Center
Beth Haun Carter High
Ron F. Martinez Carter High
Andrew Turner Central High
Angela Bredding Farragut High
Leslie Smith Howe Farragut High
Allison Maldonado Farragut High
Lindsey Smith Farragut High
Barbara Wachter Farragut High
LaToya Frazier Fulton High
David W. King Fulton High
Charles W. Negendank Fulton High
Katherine Shanton Fulton High
Dean Harned Gibbs High
Angela M. Webb Gibbs High
Jennifer W. Williams Gibbs High
Trina Polston Halls High
April Thomas Halls High
Elizabeth E. Williams Halls High
Michael Hartman Hardin Valley Academy
Carleen Hodak Hardin Valley Academy
Valarie Mills Hardin Valley Academy
Seth Rayman Hardin Valley Academy
John Tilson Hardin Valley Academy
Kelly M. Gruhn Karns High
Renata C. Krumm Karns High
Chad Turner Karns High
Caleb Whitworth Karns High
Haley Holt L&N STEM Academy
Jill Robbins L&N STEM Academy
Jenny Jordan Powell High 
Jim Kennedy Powell High 
Rachel Kirkpatrick Powell High
Laura Whittington Powell High
Anita L. Rousseau Richard Yoakley School 
Kim B. Buchanan South-Doyle High 
Angela Fowler South-Doyle High 
Chad Hensley South-Doyle High 
Aimee C. Perry South-Doyle High
Michael Carson West High
Lou Gallo West High
Valeria Schmidt-Gardner West High
Lindsey Stinnett West High