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Central office recognizes Hamblen County’s top teachers
Tribune Staff Writer
The best three teachers in Hamblen County were surprised by the central office prize-patrol team this morning amid cheers of excited students, principals, administrators and fellow teachers.
The best teachers from kindergarten to fourth-grade, fifth- through eighth-grade and ninth- through 12th-grade received congratulations, balloons and travel mugs to celebrate their ability to educate local children.
Donna Carter, fourth-grade teacher at Whitesburg Elementary, won the elementary school category; Manley Elementary’s Stephanie Dallmann, English as a Second Language teacher, won the middle school award; and Cari S. Ashford, teen leadership, teaching as a profession, and housing and interior design teacher at Morristown-Hamblen High School West, won the high school award.
All three educators agreed the joy of teaching is the joy of working with children.
“It’s these students. It’s having their support every day,” Carter said as she wiped tears from her eyes and her class cheered around her.
Dallmann agreed, saying her greatest delight as a teacher is the opportunity to work with children on a day-to-day basis.
Ashford said her role as a teacher allows her to improve students’ lives.
“I can make a difference every day. I have a new opportunity every day to make a difference in their future,” she said.
Carter has been at Whitesburg for 18 of her 20 years as an educator. Her class has earned five first place prizes and one second place prize in the Hamblen County Director’s Writing Contest over the years, a testament to her ability to teach clear expression and development.
She developed a workshop for teachers to help them teach writing better: “Write to the Point: Creative Writing for All Grades,” which she has presented to schools in Hamblen County and other East Tennessee school systems. She has also presented at the East Tennessee Title I Conference.
Carter received honors before as the two-time recipient of the Wal-Mart Teacher Appreciation Award, and at Whitesburg, Carter has served as a member of the textbook committee, science fair coordinator, school coordinator for the thoughtful-classroom initiative and school improvement leadership team member.
For the county, she participated in the curriculum mapping committee, the science curriculum development committee and the science curriculum correlation committee.
Dallmann has served as a supervising teacher to student interns and practicum students and she has led professional development at her school, the district and for the state. At Manley, Dallmann initiated, developed and coordinated a school writing program.
“This program provides k-5 teachers with a writing curriculum throughout the school year,” she said. “The success of the program has been expanded to other schools within the district, as well as area school districts.”
At other schools in the district, Dallmann has conducted “Connecting Plot Structure in Writing Instruction,” “Knocking the Top Off the Writing Assessment,” “ELL Rigor in the Classroom” and “Vertically Aligned Writing Instruction.”
Most recently, she led “The Reading-Writing Connection” and “Rigorous Instruction for Diverse Learners” at the East Tennessee Title I Conference, and “Trends for ESL” at Carson-Newman College.
Since 2008, Ashford has been the designer and coordinator for Link Up for Literacy Reading Mentoring Program, which involves the West High football players and the feeder elementary fourth-graders.
She also served as a staff professional development workshop presenter, a presenter at the career and technical education roundtable, and is a former Hamblen County FACS Textbook Adoption Co-chair.
At West, she is FACS department head, TNN advisory team member and has served as a new teacher mentor since 2003. She is a former varsity cheerleading coach at West High and served in the same capacity at East High earlier in her career.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can,” Ashford said, quoting the Rev. John Wesley. She said his words are her guiding principle.
Ashford was awarded the FCCLA 15 Years Advisory award and formerly served as an evaluator for the Tennessee Secondary School Committee of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ashford, Dallmann and Carter were chosen by educators from Rutherford County to compete for regional honors.
“To be recognized as building-level teacher of the year by one’s colleagues is one of the most prestigious honors one can receive,” said Dr. Dale Lynch, director of schools.