Press Releases

State Announces New ‘Best Practices’ Sharing for Statewide Student Achievement

Press release from the Tennessee Department of Education; November 26, 2012:

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Education announced today a new First to the Top initiative that enlists highly effective teachers from the state’s top schools to share best practices and help improve student achievement across the state.

The 15 teachers named to the Reward Schools Ambassador Program each come from 2012 Reward Schools– the top 10 percent of schools in Tennessee for performance and progress—and will work with neighboring schools in each region to improve student achievement and reduce achievement gaps.

“There are schools in Tennessee that have shown impressive growth and reached high levels of performance thanks to their effective approaches to instruction and training. We want to make sure that other schools can learn from what’s working for them,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “It’s in the best interest of Tennessee students that our schools and districts share this kind of information and knowledge. The department is doing more to facilitate opportunities to learn from each other.”

The teachers named Reward School Ambassadors are:

  • Trevor Collins, Washburn School, Grainger County Schools
  • Klaire Davis, Moore Elementary, Franklin Special School District
  • Frankie Harris, Rose Park Middle, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Pierre Jackson, Middle College High, Memphis City Schools
  • Kyle Loudermilk, Blountville Elementary, Sullivan County Schools
  • Hope Malone, Avoca Elementary, Bristol City Schools
  • Renae Martin, Meigs Middle, Meigs County Schools
  • Michelle Phipps, Alvin C. York Institute
  • Danielle Ringold, Kingsbury Middle, Memphis City Schools
  • Kelli Seymour, Southside Elementary, Johnson City Schools
  • Kristy Starks-Winn, Powell High School, Knox County Schools
  • Kathleen Turnmire, MLK Magnet, Metro Nashville Public Schools
  • Karri Weathers, Leoma Elementary, Lawrence County Schools
  • Karen Wight, Walnut Grove Elementary, Williamson County Schools
  • Edna Williams, Vollentine Elementary, Memphis City Schools

Reward School Ambassadors—all teachers who earned an overall “5,” the top score on Tennessee’s teacher evaluations—were nominated by their schools and selected for this year-long, paid position through a competitive application and interview process. Reward Schools whose nominees were selected into the ambassador cohort will also receive a $20,000 grant to further their educational programming.

“The goal of the ambassador program is to provide leadership opportunities for highly effective teachers and resources to winning Reward Schools so that they can take their already impressive achievements to new heights and serve as models of success for others across the state,” said Mike Koprowski, who oversees the program in the department’s data division. “Through the program, we aim to leverage the talent of our top teachers, spark the development of robust partnerships between schools, and spread best practices – all of which will help increase student achievement in Tennessee.”