Smithville Resident Chosen as Upper Cumberland Regional Teacher of the Year Grades 9-12

April 11, 2014
By TONY STINNETT, Cannon Courier Sports Editor
William Freddy Curtis

Cannon County still has a Cannon County High School Teacher in the running for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

Cannon County High School’s William Freddy Curtis has been selected as High School (Grades 9 – 12) Upper Cumberland Regional Teacher of the Year and is still in the process for Teacher of the Year in Tennessee.

“Mr. William Freddy Curtis is a great asset to the Cannon County School System,” said Barbara Parker, Cannon County’s Director of Schools. “It is definitely an honor to be recognized by your school peers as Teacher of the Year and by your district as District Teacher of the Year, but to be recognized as Upper Cumberland Regional Teacher of the Year means that you have risen above some very stiff competition from 22 Upper Cumberland systems. This is a very prestigious award for Mr. Curtis and a statement of how excellent the teachers are in Cannon County.”

Curtis is a 28-year veteran of education. He currently serves as U.S. Government teacher at Cannon County, where he also teaches Sociology, AP U.S. Government and Politics. He is a former principal of West Side School in Readyville. He was chosen in the grades 9-through-12 division. “I really believe that being judged or compared to other educators is an affirmation that other colleagues value what you do,” Curtis said. “In our current era of Common Core Standards schools are being evaluated as an entire group, so we are all part of the team. All of us at Cannon County High School must strive for excellence with all of our students. This recognition means, to me, that I am a good team player, and that as a part of the team I am playing my position well. It is always good to get a pat on the back, but when it is your colleagues demonstrating that to you, it is pretty special.”

“Mr. Curtis is extremely enthusiastic in the classroom,” Parker said. “He loves to teach, and it shows. He always has the students foremost in his mind when he teaches. I was elated to have two Regional Teachers of the Year from Cannon County. Mr. Curtis is very deserving.”

Curtis has taught at the grammar school and high school level, as well as served as Principal at West Side Elementary School. His genuine desire to educate is a motivating factor. “I sincerely care about each and every student and want to make a difference on what each one of them think about U.S. Government, Sociology, and AP US Government and Politics,” Curtis said. “One thing I quickly learned from going from an elementary/middle Grades teacher to Principal to high school teacher is that students desire genuineness and spot a phony a mile off. High school students desire respect, and I give it to them, and thus earn theirs. My desire is to be an example of Civic and Christian virtues that our society is in great need of, and my short time in their lives will be a legacy that will live on longer than I will. My reward in teaching is observing each student come to a basic knowledge of US Government and seeing the light come on, that my subject is not boring, but exciting and challenging.”

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

This program is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the Governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards from the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teachers of the Year will be selected in each category during voting in August.

Freddy and his wife, Trena, reside in Smithville, and have four grown sons – Matthew, Trent, Casey, and Evan Curtis. They have two grandchildren, Ella Mae – age 3 and Elliott age 7 months.

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