Morgan Rankin, a second-grade teacher at South Side Elementary School in Johnson City, has been named the 2021-2022 Tennessee Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education.
Rankin, in her 16th year as a teacher and seventh year on the South Side, was chosen from nine finalists representing different regions of the state for the award at Tuesday’s celebration of the Department’s Educational Excellence. Education.
“It was a huge surprise,” Rankin said. “I really didn’t expect it. The other eight finalists are incredibly well-spoken, thoughtful, and accomplished teachers so I really didn’t expect to win and it caught me a lot off guard, but it’s just an incredible honor.
The native of Canada said she started teaching as a way to combine her love of children with her fascination with developmental psychology.
“I love being with kids and I’m also really fascinated with the way they develop and learn and grow, and I just think kids are really cool, that’s why I started teaching,” he said. Rankin said. “But as I continued to teach, it’s the students who keep me coming back every day. I love teaching them and interacting with them.
The competition process begins at the district level.
Each school district can nominate three teachers: Rankin was selected as Johnson City Schools Elementary Teacher of the Year in January.
“The people who watch you teach day in and day out, when they select you, you know you’re doing a great job,” Rankin said.
Out of 237 entries, the CORE regional selection committees chose 27 regional semi-finalists. Of these 27 semi-finalists, nine were chosen by a state-level selection committee. It was among these nine that Rankin was chosen as Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year.
“You read about the other candidates and the other people in other areas,” Rankin said. “There are all these teachers who do amazing things for their students, amazing things for their colleagues who represent themselves so well, and to know that I am part of this cohort of teachers and then to be recognized nationally is just amazing. . It’s hard to believe. “
The nine finalists will sit on Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn’s Teacher Advisory Council for the 2021-2022 school year.
The board is supposed to provide feedback to the Department of Education as a group of expert teachers. Along with his new role on the Teacher Advisory Council, Rankin is also a founding member of the Blue Ridge Literacy Project, which provides professional development to teachers in the region, and has participated in the Technology Teacher Leadership Academy with some of his colleagues via Johnson. Municipal schools for six years.
Johnson City Schools Superintendent Steve Barnett said the school district is proud of Rankin’s accomplishments.
“We are very proud of Morgan Rankin for winning the 2021-2022 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award,” Barnett said. “Morgan is a fantastic representative of Johnson City Schools and it is an honor to call her a teacher in our district. She has distinguished herself as a leader among her peers and addresses each day in her classroom as an opportunity to nurture and shape young minds. She has an incredible work ethic and exemplifies what is wonderful about the teaching profession.
Rankin said that the support of her colleagues has been crucial to her success as an educator, and that their mutual encouragement is part of what has enabled her to be accomplished.
“Teaching is incredibly demanding in terms of time and emotion, and if you don’t share the load it can be very difficult to do the things you know you want to do for your students, and I have been really lucky. to have fellow teachers who think this way, she says.
In addition to her relationships with her fellow teachers, Rankin said the most rewarding part of being a teacher is the opportunity it gives her to make an impact on the lives of the children she teaches.
“There might be something that I say or do that affects them for the rest of their lives, and I think that’s probably the most rewarding part,” Rankin said. “Knowing that I can be a part of training those little second-year kids into the adults they’ll become.”