SCS Teacher of the Year Finalists Announced

Local News

Shelby County Schools announced its three finalists for the Teacher of the Year Award.

The Teacher of the Year award recognizes and honors outstanding teachers who care about children, devote their professional lives to enriching students’ lives, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement.

SCS Interim Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray visited three different schools to surprise the teachers by announcing their nominations to their schools or within their classrooms.

The teachers nominated were:

  • Alisha Clark, a 5th grade teacher at Crump Elementary
  • Thomas Denson, a PK-01 teacher at Cherokee Elementary
  • Mary McIntosh, a history teacher at Central High School 

When asked how she felt about winning, Alisha Clark said,  “When I say it’s just impeccable. At the time, I’ve been going through some things, and just for this to happen is confirmation that my work is not in vain.” 

Clark said that the reason behind her drive that led to her nomination was that she believes in her students. “I’m not only a teacher, I’m their friend. I build relationships with my students, as well as my parents, and I teach students to have self-confidence. And even the lowest of the lowest students, I let them know that they can do it as well.” 

Thomas Denson said that this honor goes out to each and every teacher within Shelby County Schools. “Even though it’s nice to be honored and recognized, there’s so many teachers out there who work very, very hard every day. So this actually goes out to every single teacher in Shelby County Schools.”

Mary McIntosh said that she was passionate about teaching, which helped her stand out in nominations. “Being able to work with young people and teach them how to be able to be critical thinkers and critical writers, is really, I don’t know… it’s a calling. It’s a passion. Every day when I get up, I know that I’m doing work that has value, work that matters.” 

The three teachers are now finalists in a competition among Teacher of the Year nominees across Tennessee. The next step in the process of the state-wide program is the regional finalists. Those announcements will be in May or June.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Awards will be announced in Fall 2019.

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