Proud moments from the classroom in 2017

We asked members of our Teacher Advisory Council to share their proudest moments from the classroom in 2017. Here’s what they had to say about the incredible work being done in our schools across Tennessee.


Cicely Woodard

“My proudest moment of 2017 was when I listened as my current students engaged in a conversation about college and career with one of my former students who had come to visit. I was proud of my current students for thoughtfully asking questions and considering their futures. I was proud of my former student, Sam, for developing a successful career as a math teacher and using his influence to help others. I was proud to be a teacher, because we have this special opportunity to prepare students for life after high school and to help their dreams come true.”

Cicely teaches eighth-grade math at West End Middle Prep in Metro Nashville Public Schools and is the 2017-18 Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

Carol Nanney

“My proudest moment from 2017 was when a student with a very tough home life told me that she loved my class because I was ‘different.’ When I asked her what she meant, she said that it didn’t matter what had happened during the rest of her day because she always got a fresh start when she walked through my door. She told me that the library was her ‘safe place.’ Our conversation showed me the true value of intentional relationships.”

Carol is a librarian at McKenzie Elementary School in McKenzie Special School District.

Rebecca Ryan

“My proudest moment of 2017 was when a parent told me that her teenage daughter now aspired to be a math teacher after being in my class. Sparking an interest in math is not always easy at the high school level. Helping students not only master mathematics but also enjoy it is rewarding. Knowing that I have impacted who they will become is even more fulfilling.”

Rebecca currently serves as the principal at Findlay Elementary in White County and previously taught math at White County High School.

Nancy Miles

“One of the many proud moments I had during our first semester of this school year happened just a few weeks ago during our math instructional block.  I noticed that two boys were huddled together on the floor near the back of the room, very animated and engaged in conversation.  As I drew near, I heard one saying to the other, ‘…and so if you just look at the factors within the parentheses, you will know which factors to multiply the other number by. Does that make sense? Now you try…’ As I smiled at them, I felt a swell of pride to know that the one boy had taken it upon himself to coach his friend in understanding the distributive property. Our classroom community is alive and well with caring students who take the initiative to help their peers. That’s a success in my book!”

Nancy teaches third grade at South Side Elementary School in Johnson City Schools.

Christy McManus

“I teach with a co-teacher in an inclusion classroom. We have worked very hard to make all students feel valued, intelligent, and successful. Senator Gresham visited our classroom, escorted by four administrators. We were having a Pop-Up Debate on ‘Who is Responsible for a Student’s Success: Student, Teacher, or Parent?’ My entire class, including many students who have extreme anxiety about speaking out, shared their claims. They were not intimidated by our visitors. I knew the courage it took to stand up and voice their thoughts in front of strangers. When students find their voice, it is a very proud moment for all who gave it to them.”

Christy teaches fifth-grade reading and social studies at Chester County Middle School in Chester County Schools.