Novice Teachers of the Year
Posted on 04/08/2024
Novice Teachers of the Year Chattanooga, Tennessee- Hamilton County Schools proudly announces three educators have been nominated as Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) Novice Teachers of the Year. Rachel Woodward of Harrison Elementary, Kelsie Anderson of East Lake Academy, and Kari Mays of East Ridge High School have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to education, showcasing the district's commitment to fostering excellence in teaching.

The Novice Teacher of the Year Award, introduced by the TDOE as part of its Educator Recognition Program, aims to spotlight the exceptional commitment and innovative practices of new teachers across the state. This initiative, launched for the first time in Tennessee, seeks to celebrate the fresh perspectives and dynamic approaches brought by novice teachers to the educational landscape.

The HCS Induction team promptly notified schools to identify candidates who met the state's criteria. After a thorough nomination process, Mays, Anderson, and Woodward emerged as outstanding representatives of the district's dedication to educational excellence.

Rachel Woodward, a second-grade teacher at Harrison Elementary, was nominated by her Assistant Principal, Kyle Powers, who remarked, “Every educator should spend a day in Woodward’s classroom. It will reignite your passion for education.” Woodward, in only her second year of teaching, has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities as a team lead in 2nd grade and has achieved the highest test scores in her school, outpacing district averages.

Kelsie Anderson, a seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher at East Lake Academy, was nominated by her Lead Mentor, Rob Rojas, and Support Mentor, Mark Lutkin, who highlighted her infectious enthusiasm for teaching. Anderson, now in her third year of teaching, is known for creating a positive classroom climate and fostering strong relationships with her students.

Kari Mays, a ninth-grade Algebra 1 teacher at East Ridge High School, received praise from her principal, Juan Moreno, who described her as "a rare young teacher who is mature, dedicated, and passionate about the work that she does." Mays, also a second-year teacher, has been recognized for her community involvement and innovative teaching methods, such as presenting budgets for future zoo enclosures to the Chattanooga Zoo leadership team and starting a student-run theater club that performs for nearby elementary students.

Hamilton County Schools recognizes Kari Mays, Kelsie Anderson, and Rachel Woodward as Novice Teachers of the Year for their outstanding dedication to academic excellence and student wellbeing. These remarkable educators have been nominated for the state's Novice Teacher of the Year award. The state will reveal 30 regional winners on April 8, with the announcement of the three state winners scheduled for August. Thank you to these educators for their commitment to student success, in alignment with the district's values and the advancement of Hamilton County Schools' strategic plan, Opportunity 2030.