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Memphis high school teacher named West Grand Division Tennessee Teacher of the Year

Daniel Warner, U.S. History teacher at East High School, earns statewide recognition
Credit: SCS
Daniel Warner, East High School, Tennessee Teacher of the Year finalist

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

UPDATE: 9/2/2020: East High School U.S. History teacher Daniel Warner was named the West Grand Division Tennessee Teacher of the Year today. The announcement Wednesday afternoon prompted Shelby County Schools Superintendent to give Warner a shout-out on Twitter, saying, "Congratulations to the West TN Teacher of the Year, our own Mr. Daniel Warner of @EastMustangs! This is just one of several accolades Mr. Warner has earned during his career, and we are proud to have such EXTRAORDINARY talent in our District. #SCSis901"


A Memphis high school teacher is one of nine finalists for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

Daniel Warner, a social studies teacher at East High School, made the prestigious list which was released by the Tennessee Department of Education Wednesday.

An announcement of three Grand Division Teachers of the Year and the Tennessee Teacher of the Year will be held during a banquet in Nashville in September.


TDOE Announces 2020-21 Tennessee Teacher of the Year Finalists

Nine Statewide Finalists Selected, Serve on Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council

NASHVILLE, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the nine finalists from across the state for the 2020-21 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award.  

The finalists represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state, as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area, with three finalists in each Grand Division- West, Middle, and East.  

“The 2019-20 school year has reminded all of us how deeply communities appreciate our educators and value their work. Even in the face of uncertainty, educators across the state have continued to demonstrate their passion and commitment to our students in a new and unprecedented learning environment,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “We are thankful and proud to have exceptional leaders like these finalists in our state serving our students.”

The nine finalists for 2020-21 Tennessee Teacher of the Year are:

Credit: TDOE
2020 Tennessee Teacher of the Year finalists

Districts were able to nominate three educators representing each of the three grade bands. Out of over 200 applications, 27 regional semifinalists were identified, and the nine finalists were selected from a CORE region selection committee and state-level selection committee.

“Serving the state’s superintendents has afforded me the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible work happening by our district leaders and educators, especially in light of COVID-19,” said Barry Olhausen, Assistant Executive Director of TOSS, Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.

“I am honored to support the department’s recognition efforts of our exceptional teachers by serving on the state selection committee as we all navigate a new frontier of education."

RELATED: Bartlett teacher Amanda Tutor named winner of Grand Division West for Tennessee Teacher of the Year

RELATED: Four Mid-South educators nominated for statewide awards

To qualify for Teacher of the Year, candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least three years, have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning, and be effective school and community leaders.

Following a panel interview with each finalist, Grand Division winners and the Tennessee Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group of finalists and announced during an honorary banquet this fall.

The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the 2020-21 school year.

These finalists will also have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner Schwinn’s Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2020-21 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 terms on the Council during the 2021-22 school year.

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