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BTCS Teachers of the Year
Congratulations to BTCS Teachers of the Year!
Posted on 02/17/2020
BTCS Teachers of the Year

From eight district-wide nominees, three teachers were selected to represent Bristol Tennessee City Schools in this year’s state Teacher of the Year award. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors outstanding teachers in Tennessee. It is an opportunity to applaud teachers who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee students.

All schools in Tennessee can nominate one teacher as a system finalist for grades PreK-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The three teachers selected from Bristol Tennessee City Schools are as follows: Tammy Chandler, grades PreK-4; Jennifer Hawthorne, grades 5-8; and Michelle Phillips, grades 9-12.

Tammy Chandler, a lifelong Bristol resident, is a first-grade teacher at Holston View Elementary School. Ms. Chandler has been teaching for 28 years, with the past 17 being at Holston View. She is married to her husband Matt and they have two daughters, Hannah and Abbie, and a golden retriever named Macy. Ms. Chandler received her bachelor’s degree from King University and her master’s degree in education from Tusculum University. Ms. Chandler has always loved children and knew that teaching was the career for her. “It is so inspiring and rewarding to see the growth in my students each year,” Ms. Chandler said. “My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the excitement in my students as they learn to read!”

Jennifer Hawthorne is an English language arts teacher at Haynesfield Elementary School. Ms. Hawthorne received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she also earned her master’s degree in education. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at East Tennessee State University. Although a life-altering, rare ocular inflammatory disease attacked both eyes restricting driving and reading and required her to retire from teaching in 2013, Ms. Hawthorne was able to pursue remission and return to the classroom in 2016. She said that her students are her “inspiration to continue to grow in teaching. They have given me the strength to take the next step, even when I did not think it was possible.” Ms. Hawthorne has been married to her high school sweetheart, Todd, for 20 years. Together they have one daughter, Abigail, who is nine years old.

Michelle Phillips is a health science teacher at Tennessee High School. Originally from Gray, Ms. Phillips is a registered nurse who received her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Tennessee Technological University and her master’s degree in education from East Tennessee State University. She is the co-advisor for the THS HOSA chapter, the Tennessee HOSA Upper East Regional coordinator, and an American Heart Association BLS CPR instructor. Ms. Phillips and her husband Jonathan are proud parents to daughter Sadie and son Ryan. The family provides a home to six outdoor cats and Lucy, their new indoor puppy. During her career in nursing, Ms. Phillips began to have a greater focus on education within nursing. After feeling a call to teach at a different level, she applied for the health sciences position at THS. “I am blessed to help students learn about careers in health care, knowledge about anatomy and physiology, and skills they will, undoubtedly, continue to use the rest of their lives,” Ms. Phillips said. “I truly feel like I am making a difference.”

In addition to the three nominees selected for district Teacher of the Year Award, the following Bristol Tennessee City Schools teachers were also nominated:



Christine Booher

Anderson Elementary

Shannon Morey

Avoca Elementary

April Stipes

Fairmount Elementary

Whitney Maddox

Vance Middle School

Carla Lilly



All of these nominees will be recognized at the annual Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN Outstanding Teacher Awards banquet which will be held in April. Each of these teachers demonstrates their commitment to excellence and has a positive impact on the lives and futures of their students.

Please congratulate these teachers on their outstanding accomplishment!


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