NASHVILLE – A Memphis elementary school teacher known for her creative class projects and personalized approach to instruction was named the 2012-13 Tennessee Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Allyson Chick, who teaches second grade and third grade at Richland Elementary School, is the first Memphis teacher in three decades to win the state’s top honor, which was presented during the annual Teacher of the Year banquet Tuesday night in Nashville.
“The Teacher of the Year awards not only allow us to recognize some of the best teachers in the state, but also provide an opportunity to share and learn from their inspired, effective methods of instruction,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman.
Chick connects with students and parents by setting goals together, regularly posting information on a class website and even providing Spanish translation for Hispanic families.
“Allyson has proven to be a dedicated, caring and extraordinarily skilled educator with a single-minded focus on the academic and social/emotional development of all students,” said Richland Elementary Principal Sharon McNary.
During her 11 years teaching in Memphis City Schools, Chick—a National Board Certified Teacher—has served as a Common Core Coach, a Teach Plus Fellow and a leader in various school, district and state-level education organizations.
“Her commitment to education is evident, and her character has been shaped by her exceptional ability and the commitment to serve,” said Dr. Kriner Cash, superintendent of Memphis City Schools. Last year’s Principal of the Year and Milken Educator Award winner both came from Memphis.
During Tuesday’s banquet, the department also recognized finalists who earned Teacher of the Year for each Grand Division. Chick was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the West Grand Division.
Mary Pitner, third-grade teacher at Learning Way Elementary School in Bedford County, was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the Middle Grand Division. Pitner uses her 30 years of experience in the school system to mentor fellow teachers and has become the “go-to person” to help struggling students.
Renda Crowe, theater teacher at William Blount High School in Blount County, was recognized as Teacher of the Year for the East Grand Division. Crowe builds relationships with students and makes her lessons relevant by connecting theater to their lives.
Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year awards and banquet are sponsored by the Niswonger Foundation, a Greenville-based organization that provides cash prizes for each of the nine regional finalists.