A Knoxville teacher known for leading student, department, and district collaboration was named the 2013-14 Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Wanda Napier Lacy, an Advanced Placement calculus teacher at Farragut High School, is a 30-year veteran educator who was inspired to teach because her parents didn’t have the opportunity to earn a college education. Lacy received the state’s top teaching honor during the annual Teacher of the Year banquet on Thursday night.
“The Teacher of the Year awards not only allow us to recognize some of the best teachers in the state, but also provide an opportunity to share and learn from their inspired, effective methods of instruction,” Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman said.
During her six years as the AP calculus teacher at Farragut High, every one of Lacy’s students has taken the AP calculus exam, and 97 percent have earned college credit. Knox County Mathematics Supervisor Gary Petko describes Lacy’s AP calculus results as some of the top scores in the state.
“She moves students past seeking only the correct answers and on to the why of learning,” said Farragut High School Principal Michael Reynolds.
Lacy’s teaching philosophy centers on high expectations for every student and maximizing student’s individual mathematic ability. Students in her classes regularly work together to investigate, analyze, and solve problems with real world applications.
During Thursday’s banquet, the department also recognized finalists who earned Teacher of the Year for each Grand Division. Lacy was recognized as the Grand Division winner for East Tennessee.
Judy Schinbeckler, a personal finance teacher for VITAL High School in Putnam County, was recognized as the Grand Division winner for Middle Tennessee. Schinbeckler, a 19-year veteran educator, served as a Core Coach for this summer’s training in the Common Core State Standards and continues to serve as an instructional leader for her school and district.
Melissa Collins, a second-grade teacher at John P. Freeman Optional School in Shelby County, was recognized as the Grand Division winner for West Tennessee. Collins, a National Board Certified teacher, is dedicated to creating classroom culture that engages students in the learning process.
Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year awards and banquet are sponsored by the Niswonger Foundation, a Greenville-based organization that provides cash prizes for each of the nine regional finalists.