North area schools, Mill Creek, Virtual School announce TOY

Susan EspirituFountain City, Gibbs/Corryton, Halls, Karns/Hardin Valley

Last week, schools announced teachers selected by their peers to represent the school as 2023 Teachers of the Year. The Knox County Teacher of the Year for each grade band will be announced from all district-wide delegates in February.

We were able to connect with many from the north area, a Hardin Valley area school plus our virtual school of Knox County to recognize those educators.

Adrian Burnett Elementary chose two from their exceptional staff as the Teachers of the Year.

 Melinda Valentine teaches first grade and is also a member of the Teacher Growth Team as the science department chair. Principal Stephanie Prince says, “Melinda fosters a love of learning and creates a classroom environment where her students experience success but also love coming to school each day. She supports her colleagues as a teacher leader and is a valuable part of the Adrian Burnett culture and community.”

Amanda Comparato teaches third grade ELA and serves as a member of the Teacher Growth Team as a mentor to other teachers. Prince says, “Amanda is a strong advocate for students and works hard to ensure they are growing to their fullest potential as students but also as citizens. She is a great teammate and colleague and is also a valuable part of the Adrian Burnett culture and community.”

Fountain City Elementary School selected fourth grade teacher Michelle Moore who teaches ELA and serves as the ELA department chair for the school.

Michelle Moore

Assistant Principal Rolen Blaine says of the staff choice, “Michelle is a team player who goes out of her way to support students and her peers with any needs.”

Gibbs High School chose three Teachers of the Year: Jennifer Williams, English; Greg Pomeroy, English; and Lauryn Zahn, special education.


Lonsdale Elementary School selected two as Teachers of the Year.

Morgan Hatcher teaches second grade and has taught for four years.

Morgan says about teaching, “I feel so blessed to be able to work at Lonsdale. I love the diversity of our population and the true joy that our students bring to school with them every day. The thing I love most about teaching is getting to see students grow in all aspects of their life. It’s an incredible privilege to take a front row seat in watching a child’s social, emotional and academic success.”

Lindsey Chapman teaches first grade and has been teaching 12 years.

Lindsey says of receiving her recognition, “My favorite thing about Lonsdale is the community. The love, compassion and respect that I have received from the families in our community is indescribable. The best part about teaching is seeing children light up when they achieve a goal that they previously thought was unattainable. To be loved and cherished by children is the ultimate bonus.”

Mill Creek Elementary, Knox County’s newest school, chose Ginger McNeeley as the first Teacher of the Year. Ginger is in her 18th year of teaching and currently teaches second grade while also chairing the Mentoring Committee and serving as a lead teacher for the staff.

Ginger McNeeley

The county-wide Knox County Virtual School chose two as Teachers of the Year.

Catherine “Alex” Corkern teaches high school history and a staff member says of Cockern, “I voted for (Alex) Cockern because she works diligently to develop engaging lessons to draw in learners to not only participate in class activities but also get creative and challenge their own thinking. She uses humor and satire, which is often attractive for high school learners. Also, (Alex) Cockern serves on our leadership team and supports our school in many ways.”

Anthony Gardner teaches special education and a staff member says of Gardner,” Anthony is wonderful and is extremely kind, dedicated and loves what he does. He has an art of building relationships with students, parents and his co-workers.”

Congratulations to all these educators for being recognized by their peers for their excellence in serving their students and their fellow staff members.

We look forward to showcasing more teachers as we receive information from the schools not listed in these areas

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