System-wide, teachers were nominated from 14 county schools. Each will receive a certificate and a memento acknowledging their accomplishment and will be recognized by the Board of Education at a reception.
The applications from top teachers will be submitted to the department of education for consideration for region-level awards. Of those winners, answers to additional application questions will be provided and reviewed with nine regional teachers of the year named, three in each division. One of those three will be selected as the state Teacher of the Year.
Mary Pitner of Learning Way Elementary is Bedford County Teacher of the Year in the pre-K to grade four category. Pitner teaches a looping second and third grade class at the school. A looping classroom spends two years with the same teacher.
Pitner has spent 30 years in the county school system, 23 in the classroom and seven in a supervisory capacity as supervisor of curriculum for county schools. Since 1981, she has taught each elementary grade and has been part of the faculty of Southside, Thomas, Eakin and Learning Way elementary schools.
She has attended both the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Middle Tennessee State University, earning a Master of Education in 1983 and Specialist in Education in 2005.
This is Pitner's third school-level teacher of the year award.
"I'm honored to have been chosen teacher of the year because I am surrounded by so many dedicated educators every day that could just have easily been chosen," said Pitner.
"My grandmother taught in a one-room school year many, many years ago and I always wanted to follow in her footsteps. She would have been tickled to know that I was selected."
Peggy Sue Patton Hartline took top honors in the grade 5-8 and Related Arts Category. A Title 1 reading instructor, Hartline has more than 36 years experience as a teacher. She earned her bachelor's degree from MTSU and her Masters of Education from the University of West Georgia.
She has taught previously in schools in Georgia, California and North Carolina. She has been an educator in Tennessee public schools for 14 years, having joined the Bedford County system in 2002.
A published poet, professionally she has been active in professional development among her peers and believes her strength lies in service activities and volunteer work.
"This is an honor deserved by most teachers and administrators I know. We, as professionals, spend our days and many evening hours seeking the very best tools to apply toward accomplishing our mission -- student achievement," said Hartline.
Judy Leverette, a math teacher at Community High School, won honors in the high school division. A teacher in the county since 2005, she earned degrees at Motlow Community College and MTSU.
Along with her peers, she has collaborated as a promoter of common curriculums and assessments, and has organized extra tutoring sessions for students needing math intervention, as well as for those students preparing to take the ACT.
She has been a sponsor of the National Honor Society for the past two years, and assisted in coaching a team for the state Math and Science Bowl.
She is a volunteer pianist at a local church, and volunteers with the ladies group to deliver meals to congregants during illness.
Teachers nominated in the pre-K to fourth grade division include: Jennifer Kirby, Eastside Elementary; Jennifer Simons, Eakin Elementary; Lori Sitz, Community Elementary; Kathy Reed, Thomas Magnet; Sue Schroder, Cascade Elementary; Amy McCullough, Liberty Elementary and Jessica Boswell, Southside Elementary.
In the grade 5-8 and Related Arts division, nominees include: Myra Edwards, Eastside Elementary; Clarence Lamb, Eakin Elementary; Shanna Simmons, Community Elementary; Mary Gay Burton, Thomas Magnet; Tracy Watson, Cascade Elementary; Pam Harris, Liberty Elementary and Lucie Abbott, Southside Elementary.
Middle school nominees include: Deborah Smith, Cascade Middle; Lynda Gail Houston, Community Middle; Teresa Webb, Harris Middle School and Lynn Shelton of Liberty Elementary.
Chantel Stewart at Shelbyville Central was nominated along with Leverette in the High School division.
Betty Farrar, Supervisor of Elementary Instruction for Bedford County schools, presents roses to Mary Pitner at Learning Way Elementary in recognition of being named Bedford County Teacher of the Year in the Pre-K through grade four division. Countywide, 20 teachers were nominated, and are featured on page 6A.