HCS Recognized in 2019 Best of the Best
Posted on 10/21/2019
Photo of 2019 Best of the Best teacher and school for Hamilton County Schools.The Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and Christy Varnell, a teacher at Hixson High School, were honored as part of the 12th Annual Best of the Best Awards for 2019 announced by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The publication recognized the two at the annual awards banquet where Best of the Best finalists gathered. The Times Free Press also recognized the finalists and winners in a special section in the October 4 issue of the paper.

Times Free Press readers voted The Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (CSAS) the best public school in the 2019 awards. Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper was one of 45 schools in Hamilton County to earn Level 5 overall status for 2019. The school was also one of just 21 schools to earn Level 5 for student growth in all categories. CSAS was also one of 32 schools in Hamilton County to be named a Reward School for Tennessee. Reward schools are improving in terms of achievement and growth for all student groups. Sofia McDonough, a senior at CSAS, is a National Merit Semifinalist for 2019. The school was also rated the top public high school in the Chattanooga area for 2020 by Niche.com.

Soddy Daisy High School and Signal Mountain Middle High School, both in Hamilton County Schools, were the other two finalists in the Best of the best voting results.

Christy Varnell, a science teacher at Hixson High, was honored as the Best Teacher for 2019. Varnell began teaching in 2007 and came to Hixson High School in 2009. She teaches Chemistry, as well as Anatomy and Physiology. Varnell is also the senior class sponsor at Hixson High. She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. It is very obvious that Varnell is a big hit with her students and community, as evidenced by her garnering the most votes to take the Best Teacher title. Neshawn Calloway, a vocal music teacher at Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA), was also a finalist in the Best Teacher category for 2019.

Photo: Dr. Julia Gaines and Carmen Veller, assistant principals at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences Upper, accept the First Place award at the recognition banquet.