From Post staff reports
The 2011 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Finalists have been announced and among them is Debbie Vaughn, who teaches fifth grade English as a Second Language (ESL) at Castle Heights Upper Elementary.
The Tennessee Department of Education composed the list of finalists based on the outstanding effort and care the teachers demonstrate on a daily basis.
Timothy Webb, commissioner of Education, said, “I am very proud to have such outstanding teachers in this state.” He added, “Teacher of the Year is about just one teacher, but I want to thank all of our teachers for the tremendous work in ensuring the success of every single Tennessee student.”
The Teacher of the Year program is sponsored by the Niswonger Foundation, which provides monetary funds to aid teachers in professional development, graduate study, higher student outcomes, and mentoring. The foundation also sponsors a banquet each fall to show their support and encouragement of teachers.
Out of the nine finalists, Grand Division and Teacher of Year will be chosen in the fall. The overall winner will go on to represent the state of Tennessee in the National Teacher of Year competition and will serve as an ambassador of education throughout the following year.
Candidates must have experience teaching for at least five years and be able to provide evidence of their creative classroom activities and research-based teaching strategies. The candidates must prove these aspects, among many others, to a panel of professional educators from across the state.
Vaughn was named to the Top 10 Finalists list when she taught in Florida. In addition to her teaching duties during the day, she also teaches free evening classes for adult ESL students at CHUE’s library twice a week.