Log in Subscribe

Teachers of distinction

Bedford County’s best for 2022-23 selected

Posted 2/4/23

Several Bedford County teachers were awarded with “Teacher of the Year” designations for their hard work and dedication. See the Times-Gazette Tuesday for Principal of the Year and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Teachers of distinction

Bedford County’s best for 2022-23 selected


Several Bedford County teachers were awarded with “Teacher of the Year” designations for their hard work and dedication. See the Times-Gazette Tuesday for Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year awards as well.

Macy Ray

Macy Ray of Southside Elementary received Bedford County Schools Teacher of the Year for grades pre-K through 4th.

In her fourth year at Southside, she’s been teaching kindergarten for five years. She earned her associate’s degree from Motlow State Community College and her bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Early Childhood Education.

As a kindergarten teacher, she said she gets to set her students up for their entire educational future.

“That means I have to make sure I do my best to help my students love school and learning and encourage them to always try their best. I think my greatest achievement is being able to allow my students to develop a love for learning and showing them how to believe in themselves,” she said.

Of course, it’s not easy. One of the most challenging parts of the job is not having enough time to do everything with students.

“In kindergarten, we spend a lot of time just understanding how to behave in school and learning the expectations and routines. Then, we have all of the standards that we have to teach to prepare them for first grade. Unfortunately, that leaves very little time for the fun stuff. I just try to fit in those memorable moments where I can!” she said.

However, it all pays off. Ray said the most rewarding part of her job is getting to celebrate successes with students.

“No matter how big or small, the lightbulb moments are unforgettable! Seeing my students light up and smile when I reward and encourage them or give them an award makes my heart grow,” she said.

When her name was announced for Teacher of the Year at the school level, she said she “touched.”

“Then, when I received it at the district level, I was so overcome with emotion. Excited is an understatement for receiving an award for something that I truly love doing. I don’t consider teaching as a ‘job.’ I enjoy waking up and coming to greet my students each morning and trying to make every day the best day for them.”

Lindsay Cole, assistant principal, at Southside Elementary, commented, “She goes above and beyond not only for her students, but for her colleagues as well…We believe she was chosen as Bedford County Schools Teacher of the Year for grades pre-K through 4th because her bright light, positivity, and love for children shine through her work each and every day. We are extremely blessed to have her at Southside.”

Morgan Tipps

Eighth grade English Language Arts teacher Morgan Tipps at Liberty School received Teacher of the Year for grades 5th through 8th.

She’s been teaching at Liberty for five years, among her 11 years of teaching total. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Memphis, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Trevecca Nazarene University, and a 6-8 Middle Grades ELA endorsement from Lipscomb University.

In addition to teaching, she has coached cheerleading for 10 years. This is her fourth year coaching the Liberty Middle School cheerleaders.

But her own achievements in the classroom “do not matter.”

“My achievements do not matter — it’s about what the kids achieve. I am always proud to see their efforts lead to academic and personal growth,” she said.

Yet, professionally and personally, she said she is proud of her growth as an educator.

“I have tackled the curriculum in three different grade levels, and now I am thrilled to be thriving as a middle school teacher. I may have gotten my start at the elementary level, but I always knew I wanted to teach middle school English,” she said.

But with teaching, comes challenges, which for Tipps is striving to make sure each student reaches their full potential.

“The target continues to move, and each student’s road to success looks different. This presents a new challenge each day,” she said.

However, Tipps said she is rewarded watching students gain confidence throughout their year in her classroom.

“This could be confidence in their writing skills, a confident hand up to answer a questions, or just the confidence to make it through a hard day,” she said.

When she received her award she said she was grateful in so many ways.

“I am grateful to my coworkers and students who made me feel so special and loved. I am grateful that this school system has embraced me and encouraged me to keep growing as an educator. I am grateful to my family and friends for always being supportive.”

Amy McCullough, principal of Liberty School, said, “Morgan Tipps radiates her ‘why”’ every day and in every aspect of Liberty School…Morgan builds relationships with her students by addressing potential problems before they arise, having old-fashion heart-to-heart conversations, ‘showing rather than just telling’ her belief in each student…Morgan is also extremely active in student life.”

Scott Hrouda

Chemistry teacher Scott Hrouda at Cascade High School received Teacher of the Year for grades 9th through 12th.

In addition to teaching chemistry, Hrouda has also taught Algebra I and II, Geometry, and Calculus on a part-time basis before coming to Cascade, where he’s been for nine years.

He received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Marine Science from the University of Miami as well as a master’s degree from Lipscomb University in Education.

 Before he became a teacher, he worked as an aquarist at SeaWorld and Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida. It was here that he realized he loved teaching others about the world around them.

Today, he says his greatest achievement in the classroom is helping students to move away from simply memorizing information and learn how to think, reason, conceptualize and apply concepts to solve problems.

“These skills are essential in preparing students for what is next. One way I help students do this is through productive struggle. This allows students to discover methods that help them to solve problems of their own,” he said.

That is, students are asked to use previous skills and knowledge from previous lessons to the new material.

“If or when students are stuck I ask leading questions to help them in their understanding. Combining these skills with the ability to cope with challenges allows students to learn more,” he said.

However, fighting a disruptive environment from external and internal is one of the biggest challenges.

“Disruptions are naturally going to happen and are expected. Regardless these distractions take away valuable instructional time and negatively impacts student learning,” he said.

However, it all pays off as he said the most rewarding part of teaching is the opportunity to make an impact on my students.

“I love working with students and showing them how Chemistry is relevant to them. I love working through the many challenges students face throughout the class. Helping students make connections and truly understand the material is gratifying. And my favorite part of all of this is seeing how much each student grows throughout the year. When my students leave my room, I know I have done everything I can to prepare them for what comes next,” he said.

Sandy Sorrells, principal at Cascade High School said, “Mr. Hrouda offers his students a rigorous and engaging chemistry experience. He sets high expectations for all students in a classroom environment where progress over perfection is celebrated. Mr. Hrouda has a true passion for his subject matter, which motivates his students to achieve. He leads in many areas of the school including National Honor Society, Renaissance and the student-tutoring program, which contributes to the positive culture Cascade High School strives to promote.”