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Tennessee elementary educator named National Teacher of the Year

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Rogersville (Tenn.) City Schools teacher Missy Testerman is the 2024 National Teacher of the Year. Photo courtesy Leaping Lenses/UPI

1 of 2 | Rogersville (Tenn.) City Schools teacher Missy Testerman is the 2024 National Teacher of the Year. Photo courtesy Leaping Lenses/UPI

April 3 (UPI) — Missy Testerman of Tennessee specializes in teaching English as a second language and has been named national teacher of the year, the Council of Chief State School Officers announced Wednesday.

The win makes her the first Tennessee teacher in decades to receive this prestigious award.

“Congratulations to Missy Testerman of Rogersville Elementary on being named Tennessee’s first National Teacher of the Year in more than 35 years,” said Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. “Teaching is more than a job, it is a calling. I join all Tennesseans in thanking Missy for her commitment to students by preparing them to succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

The award was first announced on CBS Mornings, and Testerman called it an “incredible honor” to win the award among the nation's 3.5 million teachers, CBS News reported.

Testerman was also named the 2023-24 Tennessee Teacher of the Year in August, according to local media.

“Missy is deeply committed to her students and community, serving as a leader, mentor and advocate,” said Tennessee Commissioner of Education Lizzette Reynolds. “I am thrilled that she will be able to use her expertise across the country and impact thousands of educators over the next year.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, Testerman has been teaching for 31 years, is president of the Rogersville Education Association and is a member of the school's teacher leadership team.

“There is often a misconception in education that we can motivate children to succeed,” Testerman said. “If we love them, we must teach them in a way that gives them the skills they need and allows them to meet high expectations and have a future.”

Testerman taught first and second grade at Rogersville City School in the Appalachian community of Rogersville, Tennessee for 30 years. She recently received an endorsement to teach English as a second language.

With her support, Testerman specializes in teaching English as a second language to students in kindergarten through eighth grade, helping students who do not speak English as their first language.

She mentors new teachers, coordinates summer camps for students, and serves on numerous school and community boards and committees.

Outside the classroom, Testerman advocates for families who speak little English and strives to empower their children to learn all subjects so they can achieve and succeed, according to the Tennessee Department of Education.