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Rotary & District Teachers of the Year
Rotary & District Teachers of the Year
Posted on 03/09/2021
Teacher of the Year

Rotary Teachers of the Year

April 13, 2021--The Rotary Club of Bristol VA/TN honored Bristol’s most outstanding teachers on Tuesday, April 13, during the 34th Annual Frank W. DeFriece, Jr. Teacher Awards presentation.

Teachers were nominated from Bristol Tennessee City Schools and Bristol Virginia Public Schools with one teacher from each system being selected as the 2021 Rotary Outstanding Teacher. Each school submitted a nomination packet that was then scored by an anonymous panel of nine judges composed of public educators and business representatives.

Allison Brooks, sixth grade teacher at Holston View Elementary School, was this year’s Tennessee award recipient. She earned a $3,000 cash award, a $1,000 donation for equipment to her school, and a circulating plaque for display at her school. This year, due to an anonymous donor, she also received an additional $500 for a total gift of $3,500. Erika King, first grade teacher at Washington Lee, was the Virginia award recipient and received the same prizes.

According to information shared at the annual Rotary Club awards event, Ms. Brooks is known as an innovative teacher who challenges students to apply classroom math skills to the real world. Her goal is to ensure all students who enter her classroom feel invited and safe as she praises their accomplishments both big and small. She encourages students as they work through challenges, and she tailors individual lesson plans to each student.

One of her teaching colleagues stated, “Allison embraces every child and their unique needs to make sure every child has what they need to learn. She makes sure each child feels loved and their basic needs are met. She also sets high expectations for every child, because she is an educator who believes every child can learn. No student ever feels as if they cannot succeed in her class because she finds a way to meet their needs.”

Teachers also earning nominations for BTCS included Rachel Brown, Fairmount; Catherine Lamie, Haynesfield; Amity Vance, Avoca; Rebecca Porter, Vance; Autumn Roe, Anderson; Rich Reece, Tennessee High; and Lindsey Weeden, Tennessee Online Public School. Each nominee from BTCS and BVPS received a $500 cash award.

Signature sponsors for the Rotary Outstanding Teacher Awards include Baker’s Construction Services Inc., Bank of Tennessee, Bill Gatton Automotive Group, Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, BurWil Construction Company, Citizens Bank, Evergreen Title & Closing, First Bank and Trust Company, HVAC, Inc., Johnson Commercial Development, King University, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, Rotary Club of Bristol VA/TN, Strongwell Corporation, and United Southeast Federal Credit Union.

District Teachers of the Year

March 9, 2021--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: Rachel Brown, grades PreK-4; Catherine Lamie, grades 5-8; and Rich Reece, grades 9-12.

Rachel Brown has been a part of the BTCS team since 2012 serving as an educational assistant, kindergarten, first, and second grade teacher. She currently teaches third grade math at Fairmount Elementary. Ms. Brown, who is originally from Bristol, Va., holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development from East Tennessee State University. She and her husband Roger have one very “spoiled” cat.

“Growing up, I had positive memories throughout my schooling,” Ms. Brown said. “That is exactly what I want to foster for my students. I strive to be a positive role model for my students and reinforce team-building relationships that encourage one another. Goal setting is huge in my classroom. We set individual and classroom goals and work together to reach them. Everyone’s path is different; everyone’s growth looks different, but I feel if we support one another, we can achieve more than we ever dreamed of.”

Catherine Lamie is a sixth grade science teacher at Haynesfield Elementary. She has a Bachelor of Arts (University College of Cape Breton) and a Bachelor of Education (University of Western Ontario) degree, as well as a graduate certificate in K-12 STEM (East Tennessee State University). Before moving to the Tri-Cities, Ms. Lamie taught for three years in Ontario, Canada. She has taught kindergarten, first, second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and physical education. Ms. Lamie and her husband Scott have three children.

Ms. Lamie says teaching is the only career she has ever wanted and cannot see herself in any other job. “I love helping students make connections between the material I am teaching and their world as a person. I love inspiring students to seek out information when they don’t know something. I love providing experiences for students to explore and experiment in order to reach conclusions about a concept. I also love welcoming my students into my family and helping them develop a sense of family and community together. I enjoy pushing them to be their personal best and realize that their worth is not developed from the grades they get, but by the effort they put in and successes that they achieve.” 

Rich Reece is a science teacher at Tennessee High School, a position he has held for 12 years. Mr. Reece grew up in Elizabethton and earned his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Tennessee and Master of Arts in Teaching from East Tennessee State University. Mr. Reece and his husband Matt are the proud parents of one dog.

Mr. Reece did not immediately set out to become a teacher. After college, he spent a few years working in two research labs—one in Knoxville and one in Memphis. While living in Memphis, he served as a volunteer tutor for a student at East Memphis High School. “It was this experience that taught me how one caring adult can change a child’s life,” Mr. Reece said. “After that I decided to leave the lab and become a teacher. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My favorite thing about teaching is sharing my love of science with my students. One of the most rewarding things for me is geeking out with my students when we talk about a cool science topic such as entropy or gravity.

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

Autumn Roe, Anderson
Amity Vance, Avoca
Allison Brooks, Holston View
Rebecca Porter, Vance
Lindsey Weeden, TOPS

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

Join us in congratulating these teachers on their outstanding accomplishment!

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