“I’m humbled,” Caldwell said. “Surprised and humbled.”
Caldwell is in the running for the state Teacher of the Year. She mailed her application for the state recognition on Wednesday. The applications will be reviewed and teachers still being considered for the recognition will be notified in May to come in for an interview.
“Amber is a great teacher, she is going to be a great representative for us,” said Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel.
Caldwell said she found out she was the regional teacher of the year about two weeks ago when supervisor for secondary education Dan Glasscock and Walker Valley High School Principal Danny Coggin told her.
There are nine educational regions. Each region sends a representative to be considered by the Tennessee Department of Education as Teacher of the Year.
The state Teacher of the Year will be selected based on teacher philosophy, community involvement, teaching success and personal growth, according to Caldwell.
Caldwell was the high school system level teacher of the year.
System and building level teachers of the year were recognized during a reception before the Thursday meeting of the Bradley County Board of Education.
“You are here because your professional colleagues have acknowledged that you are not ordinary,” McDaniel said to the teachers. “In fact they have identified you as one of the best.”
Laura Calfee, teacher at Black Fox Elementary School, was named the pre-kindergarten to fourth grade system level teacher of the year. Barbara Harrison of Oak Grove elementary was teacher of the year for fifth through eighth grades.
“All of you are awesome,” McDaniel said.
Bradley County Board of Education chair Charlie Rose said teachers make a difference in students’ lives even if they do not see immediate reaction from the students.
“I admire these teachers. I admire what they do,” Rose said.
Board member Troy Weathers said many teachers in Bradley County devote extra time for their students, even when they do not receive compensation.
“What a difference you make for our children,” Weathers said.