January 18, 2022
By: Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has announced the 2021-22 Teachers of the Year at the building level of the five schools in the county.
This year’s honorees chosen by their peers are kindergarten teacher Cristy Spears at Smithville Elementary School; 5th grade math and science teacher Sarah Storey at Northside Elementary School; Amanda Mullinax, library and media specialist at DeKalb West School; Teresa Jones, a seventh grade math teacher at DeKalb Middle School; and Gary Caplinger, a CTE residential and commercial construction teacher at DeKalb County High School.
Mullinax has completed 20 years of teaching, Jones 19 years, Spears and Storey have completed 4 years, and Caplinger is completing his 10th year as an educator.
“Our district’s Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors outstanding teachers in DeKalb County. We applaud teachers who care about our children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of DeKalb students, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. We are not just exceptionally proud of our Teachers of the Year, but we are also grateful for all of our educators in DeKalb County,” said Director Cripps.
According to Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction, “Competition for the district-wide John Isabell Teacher of the Year award continues through February and will be announced this spring. Additionally, a DeKalb County teacher will be chosen by a committee to compete at the regional level in March, and if selected the teacher will represent DeKalb County at the state level competition.”
Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Core Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.
Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards.
Dr. Kathy Bryant, Supervisor of Instruction, concludes, “The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote effective teaching practices by recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers while encouraging others to join the teaching profession.”