Debra Martin announced Wilsons Teacher of the Year

Teachers attending the banquet with their respective school principals were individually recognized and presented plaques for the achievement of being named a nominee for the prestigious award.

Martin credited her mother, her own second grade teacher, for being responsible for her developing her desire to be a career educator.

The announcement of her name as Teacher of the Year was made by Dr. Harvill Eaton, president of Cumberland University and the events keynote speaker.

In his comments, Eaton read statements by parents and others lauding Martin for her work as a student counselor.

She counseled my child and cried with us, one mother wrote in a tribute to Martin noting her compassion and dedication while working with their respective family in support of her child.

Another said she has won her place in heaven, again boasting of the interest and commitment Martin routinely displays in her position as a guidance counselor.

She is married to Kenny Martin, interim Mt. Juliet city manager and Economic and Community Development director.

The 28 other nominees and their respective schools were Melissa H. Campbell, Byars-Dowdy Elementary; Juliana Bishop, Carroll-Oakland Elementary; Sherry Manners Eskew, Castle Heights Upper Elementary; Melanie Botts Quinn, Coles Ferry Elementary; Amy Steed, Elzie D. Patton Elementary; Cathy Carey, Friendship Christian School; Jennifer Conatser, Gladeville Elementary; Laura Cates, Lakeview Elementary; Kate Plumlee, Lebanon High School; Justin Michael Angel, Modified Academin Program; Tonya Boyer, McClain Christian Academy; Jenny Runyon, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; Elizabeth McDaniel, Mt. Juliet Elementary; Theresa B. Wright, Mt. Juliet High School.

Shaunna Davis, Rutland Elementary; Natalie Trice, Sam Houston Elementary; Linda Davidson, Southside Elementary; Bonnie Lynn Lane, Stoner Creek Elementary; Nicole Williams, Tuckers Crossroads Elementary; Patti Brandt, W.A. Wright Elementary; Linda Badger, Walter J. Baird Middle School; LaConda Dodd McKinney, Watertown Elementary; Burton Keith Goolsby, Watertown High School; Stephanie Jernigan, West Elementary; Carolyn Washing, West Wilson Middle School; Malissa A. Pitts, Wilson Central High School; Sherry LaNelle Buchanan, Wilson County Career Technical Center; and Tammy Sheppard, Winfree-Bryant Middle School.

The Teacher of the Year program includes all of the county's29 schools, including both public and private. Each school nominates and elects its own "teacher of the year" from its faculty. Nominees are chosen by their peers. The29 nominees then complete self-evaluation packets providing the information for the final judging.

As part of the selection process past winners of the award meet with the current yearnominees andreview the criteria processing materials. An anonymous panel of Cumberland University faculty members then selects the Wilson County Teacher of the Year.

According to the program's organizers, many people play an important role in making the program successful, including members of business and government, school principals, school administrators and the chambers of commerceof Lebanon, Mt. Juliet and Watertown.

"We are very proud of this program as it recognizes educators in our community that go above and beyond their call of duty, commented Bob McDonald, president of CedarStone Bank,"and we at CedarStone Bank are proud to be a part of it. It is wonderful to see our teachers be acknowledged and rewarded for the fine job they do."

The Teacher of the Year receives a $1,500 cash prize and their respective schoolis awarded $500.