Teachers of The Year

On Tuesday, April 23, 2024, the Dyer County School System held its annual Teacher Recognition Banquet to honor Teachers of The Year and Retiring Teachers.

The 2024 Teacher Recognition Banquet was held at the Lenox Event & Golf Co. at The Farms for the fourth year. In attendance was Director of Schools Cheryl Mathis, Elementary Schools Supervisor Dr. Carolyn Tyler, Middle School Supervisor Rena McKnight, High School Supervisor Angie Stafford, School Nutrition and CTE

Supervisor Amy Hester, Attendance and Pre-K Supervisor Stephanie Johnson, Board members Jeremy Gatlin, Tara Gibson, Mike McLaughlin, Keith Anderson, Sherrell Armstrong, Steve Dodds, John David Caldwell, Patricia McCreight, LeeAnn Childress, and Andrew Grills.

"This is probably one of my favorite nights of the year," said Director of Schools Cheryl Mathis in her opening remarks. "We get to celebrate our teachers of the year and retiring teachers, and this year, we are celebrating two other staff members for highly esteemed recognitions as well!"

To be nominated for Teacher of The Year, teachers must have at least three years of teaching experience in their education career. Eligible teachers are voted on by their peers at their school to receive the Building Level Teacher of The Year recognition.

Building-level teachers of The Year are eligible to be selected as District-Level Teachers of The Year based on community involvement, leadership experience, professional development, and data-driven instructional practices.

Each school's administrator recognized its Teacher of The Year, and they shared some sentiments from their peers during the voting process.

2024-2025 Building Level Teachers of The Year are Mandy Cogdill at Trimble Elementary School, Eddie Blanchard at Newbern Elementary School, Kinsey Wilder at Fifth Consolidated Elementary School, Michelle Sides at Finley Elementary School, Lori Walker at Holice Powell Elementary School, Chris Eaves at Three Oaks Middle School, Amanda Williams at Northview Middle School, Lee Hudson at Dyer County High School, Mary Greer at Dyer County High School, and Susan Campbell at Dyer County High School.

2024-2025 District Level Teachers of The Year are Michelle Sides at Finley Elementary School, Amanda Williams at Northview Middle School, and Lee Hudson at Dyer County High School.

Lori Evans at Newbern Elementary School, Ginger Tyler at Newbern Elementary School, and Cali Acuff at Dyer County High School were recognized and celebrated for their upcoming retirement.

Mrs. Lori Evans has been teaching for over 20 years. She received her Elementary Education degree from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Lori started her career at Dyer County Schools, teaching kindergarten for two years at Dyer County Central before transitioning to Newbern Elementary School, where she taught for 11 more years. She has taught second grade in Newbern since 2016. Lori plans to spend her retirement visiting with her children and traveling with her husband. Lori shares some wisdom as she looks toward retirement ...."I was pretty sure that it was time for me to retire a couple of weeks ago when a group of kids in my classroom were looking at a yearbook from 2019. I heard one kid say," Gol-lee, what happened to her? " Another child answered, "She can't help it that she got old." I sat there thinking to myself that they were right. Time is a thief. I am now teaching with students that I taught in school. I have had the honor of teaching the children of students, kids, and now some of their grandchildren. I have loved every minute of being in the classroom, but the time has come to move this old lady on. I am ready for the next chapter of life."

Mrs. Ginger Tyler graduated from Arkansas State University in May of 1986. She taught 4th grade Language Arts and Science for two years in Arkansas before moving to Dyer County. She worked as a preschool teacher at First Baptist for three years, teaching 4-year-olds. In 2000, she began teaching at Dyer County Schools as a first-grade teacher. In 2001, with the closing of Dyer County Central, she began teaching kindergarten. She remained in this role for 11 years before teaching first grade, where she has remained for the past 13 years. In 2011, she also continued her professional education journey by earning her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from William Woods University. After a long career that has impacted many students and families, Mrs. Ginger will enjoy retirement by focusing on her passion for sewing and embroidery. She also plans to travel, as she and her husband love traveling in the US and other countries.

Mrs. Cali Acuff graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Austin Peay State University in December of 1991. She started her teaching career in 1992 at Dyer County High School, where she taught secondary math. She had the unique experience of teaching alongside her mother and her husband during the four years she spent at Dyer County High School. Her husband's career change then led Mrs. Acuff to teach 25 years of secondary math at Columbia Central High School in Maury County. Three years ago, in 2021, Mrs. Acuff returned to Dyer County to wrap up her teaching career at Dyer County High School, where it all began. While Mrs. Acuff is ready to be officially retired, she is not ready to hang up her teaching hat completely. She truly loves teaching teenagers and hopes to return to the classroom part-time to continue impacting students even in retirement.

Dyer County High School Assistant Principal Stephanie Sanders was recognized for being selected as the West Tennessee Assistant Principal of The Year, and Mike French was recognized as a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

In closing, Director Mathis said, "In looking at our retiring teachers, teachers of the year, Mike French, and Stephanie Sanders, one word comes to mind—EXEMPLARY! These educators played a big role in helping our system to earn the Exemplary District award. Only 12 systems in the entire state achieved this goal. You all are truly exemplary! I would like to extend a big thank you to each of you."