Tennessee Announces 2017-18 Teacher of the Year

Friday, September 29, 2017 | 7:51am

NASHVILLE – A Metro Nashville Public Schools teacher known for her communication and leadership skills was named the 2017-18 Tennessee Teacher of the Year during the annual honorary banquet on Thursday night.

Cicely Woodard, an eighth-grade mathematics teacher at West End Middle School in Nashville, is the recipient of this year's top honor. Woodard has been teaching for 13 years in Tennessee and, in addition to serving in many leadership roles within her school and district, she has also served as an adjunct instructor at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College, from which she holds a master's degree.

"It is my privilege to honor this outstanding group of educators from across our state. I am fortunate enough to know Cicely and am incredibly proud that we now have an opportunity to honor her as our Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She is a remarkable teacher leader in her school and district, as well as throughout the state," Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said.

Viewed as a teacher leader throughout Middle Tennessee, fellow educators seek Woodard's expertise in helping students grasp challenging mathematics concepts and developing meaningful classroom assessments. Woodard is always looking for new ways to grow and challenge herself as a teacher leader and, in addition to being chosen for numerous awards and honors, she seeks new opportunities to both lead and participate in professional development.

"Teachers who cultivate a passion to lead develop professionally and improve education for students. I want teachers to know that teacher leadership does not have to mean leaving the classroom to serve in an administrative role," Woodard has said.

Woodard follows 2016-17 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Derek Voiles, a seventh-grade teacher at Lincoln Heights Middle School in Morristown, who was also honored during Thursday's event. At the banquet, the department also recognized finalists who earned Teacher of the Year titles for each of Tennessee's three Grand Divisions. Woodard was recognized as the Grand Division winner for Middle Tennessee.

Nancy Miles, a third-grade teacher at South Side School in Johnson City Schools, was recognized as the Grand Division winner for East Tennessee. Miles believes that it is important to meet the needs of all students, so she strives to embed a variety of strategies, skill practice, and student choice in her lessons.

Carol Nanney, a librarian at McKenzie Elementary School in McKenzie Special School District, was recognized as the Grand Division winner for West Tennessee. Nanney's philosophy is that whoever does the most talking does the most learning, so she has structured her time with students to promote engagement and academic discussion.

As Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Cicely will become a main ambassador for teachers in our state, serving as Tennessee's representative in the National Teacher of the Year Program. In addition, she will be asked to share her insight from the classroom as part of committees and working groups with the department. The nine Teacher of the Year state finalists, who represent all regions in the state, serve on the Teacher Advisory Council during the 2017-18 school year. This council acts as a working group of expert teachers to provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the school year. Additionally, to provide continuity and leadership, the three Grand Division winners will continue their term during the 2018-19 school year.

For questions about the Teacher of the Year program in Tennessee, please contact Paul Fleming, assistant commissioner of teachers and leaders, at Paul.Fleming@tn.gov. For media inquiries, please contact Sara Gast, director of communications, at Sara.Gast@tn.gov or call (615) 532-6260.