The Tennessee State Teacher Fellows Program launched in 2015 with exceptional teacher leaders from across the state.
Reflecting the diversity of Tennessee’s education landscape, these educators have teaching experience ranging from 4 years to 42 years. In their inaugural year, Teacher Fellows met with local and state leaders to give critical feedback on public education policy issues. Additionally, Teacher Fellows provided peer feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on critical classroom education issues, including teacher professional development and Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2).
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Tennessee State Teacher Fellows
Jarred Amato is a high school English teacher passionate about instilling a love of reading in students and improving literacy outcomes in our state. He recently finished his first year at Maplewood High School after teaching eighth grade English at Jere Baxter Middle Prep for six years. Jarred currently serves on Nashville’s Teacher Cabinet and in 2015, he received the MNPS Blue Ribbon Teacher award, as well the Teacher of the Year award for his school. During the 2014-15 school year, Jarred participated in the Tennessee SCORE Educator Fellowship and the MNPS Teacher Leadership Institute, while also serving on the East Nashville Advisory Committee. He received his B.A. in English and History from Vanderbilt University and his M.A.T. from Belmont University, and is currently pursuing his Ed.D. from Lipscomb University.
Amanda has taught English at Dobyns Bennett High School for the past five years. In that time, Amanda has served as the English 9 CoTaught Team Leader, English 10 CoTaught Team Leader, CoPresident of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa International Honor Society for Women Educators and on the Tennessee Digital Learning Team. Throughout her career she has served as a school-wide Title I coordinator, school-level testing coordinator and 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant coordinator. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from East Tennessee State University. In 2010, she earned an Educational Specialist degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University.
Monica Brown teaches 4th grade reading/language arts and social studies at Oakhaven Elementary. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher who has taught in Shelby County for 8 years. Monica presently serves as 4th grade level chairperson at Oakhaven, chairperson of the New Teacher Committee of the Memphis-Shelby County Education Association, and as a Teacher Leader Organizer with the Tennessee Education Association Teacher Leader Network. Monica was selected as a 4th grade ELA Master Teacher with the NEA-Better Lesson Master Teacher Project and a Sontag Prize in Urban Education ELA Award recipient. Monica earned a K-6 Teaching Certification from Crichton College, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Memphis, and a Master of Health Systems Management from Tulane University.
April Carrigan is the Math Coach at Franklin Elementary School in Franklin Special School District located in Franklin, Tennessee. She has been at Franklin Elementary for three years. Previously, she taught for eight years at Westwood Elementary School in Williamson County School District located in Fairview, Tennessee. April has been an educator for eleven years and has taught 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten. She has served as a member of Franklin Special School District’s Advisory Council and Franklin Elementary School’s Shared Leadership Team. April also served as a Common Core Learning Leader and was selected as a participant in the TNDOE and Institute for Learning research project as a Math Instructional Coach. She graduated from Aquinas College with a degree in Elementary Education. April holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Trevecca University and an Administrative Licensure from Lipscomb University.
Jessica has taught middle school math in Putnam County Schools for the past 7 years. She first worked at Avery Trace Middle School teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade math. Then she moved to Cornerstone Middle School, which is now Upperman Middle School, to teach 5th grade math. During this time, she has served as the 5th grade team leader, mentor teacher, 2015 school level Teacher of the Year, digital transition team member and mathematics instructional specialist. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies – Middle School and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, both from Tennessee Tech University.
Cindy Cliche is a classroom teacher with over 30 years experience. She currently teaches second grade at McFadden School of Excellence in Murfreesboro, TN. She also teaches Math Methods to pre-service teachers at Middle Tennessee State University. Cindy has worked in the past as a Teacher Trainer with the Tennessee State Department of Education. She was the Presidential Awardee in Math and Science Teaching in 2004. She has a passion for math education in the elementary grades. Cindy received her Bachelor’s Degree from Ball State University and her Masters from Berry College.
Hayley teaches 3rd grade at West Chester Elementary School. She has been teaching with the Chester County School System for 4 years. Hayley is presently serving as a teacher leader/data coach in her school. She is also a member of the district writing team. She has led PLCs within her district and has attended focus groups concentrating on supporting Tennessee educators. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Memphis. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
Natalie has taught seventh grade language arts at Shafer Middle School for six years and was named Shafer Teacher of the Year for 2013-14. She sponsors the school literature and arts magazine, was a TNCore Learning Leader for 2014-15, and has served on district planning committees and as part of the Mid-Cumberland CORE Region Teacher Roundtable Discussion. Natalie graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2009 and was awarded Peabody College’s Kevin Longinetti Award for Outstanding Secondary-Level Teaching. Outside of school, she tutors for Christian Women’s Job Corps of Middle Tennessee, where she has volunteered for seven years.
Meagan England is a K8 Reading Interventionist at Forge Ridge School. She graduated from East Tennessee State University with a BS in elementary education and earned an MS in educational administration and supervision and an EdS in curriculum and instruction from Lincoln Memorial University. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Lincoln Memorial University. The State Collaborative on Reforming Education selected her as a Tennessee Educator Fellow. Meagan also serves as a Tennessee Lead Curator for the Teacher Practice Network, a TN Educator Voice Fellow, an educational blogger and a co-founder of East Tennessee Teacher Advisory Group.
A former high school marketing teacher with Jefferson County, Tina is currently the Instructional Technology Specialist for Hawkins County Schools where she works with teachers and administrators across 18 schools to integrate technology in K-12 classrooms. A Tennessee Department of Education iTunesU featured presenter, Tina has presented at numerous professional conferences including Tennessee’s first EdTech Summit. An advocate for technology integration, Tina works with professional societies to plan, and produce annual technology conferences for teachers across Tennessee. Tina holds a B.S. in Business/Marketing Education, an M.S. in Human Resource Development, and an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology from the University of Tennessee. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D at Liberty University.
Julia Geiger is a fifth grade teacher at Hawkins Elementary in Rogersville, Tennessee. Julia was recognized as Hawkins County Teacher of the Year, grades 5-8, 2012. She has served on many school and system leadership committees focusing on improvement. In 2014, Julia was selected to be a Teacher Leader in the Hawkins County School System through 2016. Julia earned her B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from Transylvania University in Kentucky. Following an internship with the Committee on Education and the Workforce in Washington D.C., Julia completed her Masters through the University of Tennessee and her Ed.S from Lincoln Memorial University.
Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross-curricular collaboration for project-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Adam worked as an engineer in Memphis and relocated to Nashville in 2009. After becoming a Nashville Teaching Fellow in 2010, he taught Mathematics at Glencliff High School. At the start of his second year of teaching, he was given the lead teacher position of Glencliff’s Academy of Environmental and Urban Planning, which he currently holds. Adam has a BS and MA in Civil engineering from UTK and an MAT from Belmont University. He was chosen as the Academy Teacher of the year in 2013. Adam is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, National Council of Mathematics Teachers and a faculty advisor for both the ACE mentoring group and the Technology Student Association.
Maureen teaches fourth grade at Greenbrier Elementary School in Robertson County. Previously, she taught sixth grade at Greenbrier Middle School. She has been an educator in Robertson County for seventeen years. Maureen has served as a grade level leader and as a chair for the school’s math committee. During the 2015-16 school year, Maureen served in the capacity of teacher representative for the Hope Street Focus Group and the Tennessee Teacher Leader Network. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Georgian Court College and Master’s degree in school counseling from Western Kentucky University.
With twenty years of teaching experience, Debbie holds a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, a Master of Education as a Reading Specialist, and an Educational Specialist degree in Administration and Supervision from Middle Tennessee State University. A former President of the Murfreesboro Education Association, Debbie currently serves on the National Advisory Board for Scholastic, is a Mentor Teacher for MTSU’s MTeach Program, a judge for CODiE Awards of the Software & Information Industry Association, is on the Member Advisory Panel for the National Education Association and has written numerous grants totalling more than $10,000 during her teaching career. Debbie is actively involved in The Last Minute Toy Store, Haiti Relief, Feed the Hunger, and Blue Raider Athletic Association.
Nikki has taught in Clarksville Montgomery County for five years serving on the school leadership team for four, and she currently works as an Intervention Specialist at Barkers Mill Elementary School. She has served as a TDOE 3-5 Math Core Coach during the 2014-2015 and will serve in the current 2015-2016 year. During her time as a core coach, she trains teachers across the state emphasizing strategies that encourage students to conceptualize mathematics and deepen teacher content knowledge. Nikki holds her undergraduate degree in K-6 Education from Austin Peay State University, and she is currently perusing a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Josalyn Tresvant McGhee is a 5th Grade Reading/English Language Arts Teacher at Knight Road Elementary School. Josalyn also served for four years as the Special Education Instructional Resource Teacher. In 2014, she was named a member of the 2014-2016 Bill and Melinda Gates Teacher Advisory Council where she collaborated with 50 other teacher leaders from across the country on educational issues. In 2013, she was named a Fishman Prize winner for TNTP and was a member of the 2012-2013 Teach Plus Policy Fellowship. Josalyn has also served as a seminar instructor for Memphis Teaching Fellows. She holds a Master of Education from The University of Memphis, a Master of Business Administration from Union University, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of TN at Chattanooga.
Nancy, a National Board Certified Teacher, has taught Multiage (K-2), second, and third grades since 2002. She holds a BBA in Marketing from University of Louisiana, and began a second career in education having earned a Masters in Teaching from East Tennessee State University. Currently at South Side Elementary, she is an ELA Learning Leader and, in 2013, was regional finalist for Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year. A recently named Eastman Chemical’s ScienceLites 2016 Summer program participant, Nancy serves as a Technology Teacher Leader and regularly presents at district regional conferences, including the ETSU Early Childhood Conference and the Niswonger Symposium. Nancy has been awarded four different STEM and Literacy grants over the last three years totaling $20,000. In the Spring of 2014, she participated in NBCT’s Congressional Panel in Washington, DC. Nancy serves on the Advisory Board of Hands-On Children’s Museum and works with ESL children in the local Hispanic community.
Crystal has taught at Camden Elementary for six years teaching PreK-2nd grade general music and reading intervention and serves as RTI Co- Coordinator. Crystal served as the Benton County Education Association president 2013-2015, is an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and was named Distinguished Educator of West Tennessee by the Tennessee Education Association in 2014. Crystal is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin where she earned a B.M. in Music Education. As a life-learner, she has also earned her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Kimberly has served at the Big Ridge Elementary School for the last seven years. She has worked as a music teacher and a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). Kimberly has served as Department Chair, RTI Coordinator, Next in Line for the Principal, Technical Contact and Chair for the School Wide Positive Behavior Support Cadre and she has been a Public Education Foundation’s Leadership Fellow. A recipient of the ETS Recognition of Excellence award for Principles of Learning and Teaching, she received her Bachelor of Music and Master of music degrees in music education from Middle Tennessee State University and from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, respectively, and a Master of Education degree in school leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University.
Dana is a K-5th Grade English as a Second Language teacher at Sycamore Elementary in the Collierville School District. She has played an active role at the school, district, state and national level, serving on various committees such as the TNDOE Race to the Top ESL Evaluation, shaping ESL state and national assessments, and contributing regularly to ESL journals and other media outlets. Dana received the West TN ESL Teacher of the Year Award (2014). Best of the Best Presentation at the TNTESOL Conference (2011), and the TN School Board Association Excellence in Education (2007-09). Her school has been recognized by the USDOE as developing and implementing a Promising/Model ESL Program (2012), She has also been honored by her colleagues as a Teacher of the Month and Year. A graduate of St. Mary’s Dominican in New Orleans, she holds a Masters degree from National University in CA, ESL credentials, and completed Post-Masters Literacy Acquisition work at Cal State San Bernardino.
Mike has taught at Coffee County Central High School for the past ten years. Before that, he taught for three years in Metro Nashville Public Schools. He has recently presented at the Tennessee GAFE Summit, the Tennessee Reading Association Conference, and MidTNUnCon. Mike has formerly served the state as a TNCore ELA Coach and is currently a TDOE Regional Content Coach. He also currently serves his county as the Coffee County Education Association Vice President. He has earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Tennessee Tech in secondary education with a minor in English, a Master’s Degree from Austin Peay in instructional technology, and a Specialist in Education Degree (Ed.S) from Tennessee Tech in ESL.
Alicia Anne, “Pam”, teaches grades K-5 in an ABC/ISS class at East Lake Elementary School, in the Hamilton County School System in Chattanooga, TN. She’s been in education for 41 years. Pam served as an AR for five years, is presently serving on her locals BOD, and is a member of the TEA Board of Directors. Pam has received an HCEA Outstanding Member Award, WDEF Educator of the Week Award, and was honored as an Outstanding Educator of Peabody College at Vanderbilt. She holds a B.S. from Tennessee State University, M.S. from Vanderbilt University, and an M.Ed from Trevecca University.
Dr. Elaine Vaughan is a mathematics instructor at Oak Ridge High School for 20 years. She is a National Board Certified teacher, Professional Learning Communities Coach, and member of the Response to Intervention district and school board. Elaine is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma and serves on the XI State Vision Board. Through this organization, she received both state and international scholarships. Elaine was a state mathematics textbook reviewer during the 2013-2014 school year. Elaine received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Tennessee and her doctorate from Walden University.
Karen Vogelsang has taught elementary grades for twelve years. The past nine have been at Keystone Elementary and Riverwood Elementary in Shelby County Schools. This fall she begins a new chapter at Winridge Elementary. She is a National Board Certified Teacher, and a mentor for candidates pursuing certification. Karen currently serves as the 2015 Tennessee Teacher of the Year. She has served as a Learning Coach, a Common Core Math coach for the state of Tennessee, and recently served on the state Math Textbook Adoption Team. Karen holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Memphis.
Marc Walls has taught science at Northeast High School for two years. He has served as a leader in STEM integration, facilitating in services during the summer and serving as a mentor to elementary and middle school teachers. Marc worked with a team of colleagues to rewrite the physical science curriculum used in his school system. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course and was accepted into the Aspiring Administrator’s Academy. Marc was selected for the Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute as an advocate for Autism awareness and active volunteer in his community. He is a graduate of Austin Peay State University and hold’s a Master of School Administration from Bethel University.
Comeshia Williams is a Title I PLC Coach at Northaven K-8 School. She has 15 years of experience as a 1st and 4th grade teacher with the Shelby County School System. She has served as a mentor, learning coach, and master teacher. A graduate from the University of Memphis, Comeshia was named 2000 Student Teacher of the Year. She holds a Masters of School Administration from Trevecca Nazarene University and an Ed.S. in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis. She received the 2015 Outstanding School Leadership Graduate Student Award. She is also a licensed Professional School Counselor.
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