Franklin Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Sondra Wilson-Martin is one of nine finalists for the 2023-24 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award, the Tennessee Department of Education announced on June 8.
The nine finalists represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state, as well as the Shelby County Municipal area. The 2023-24 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and three winners for each grand division, will be selected from this group and announced during the Excellence in Education Tennessee Teacher of the Year Banquet this fall.
Tennessee’s nine finalists for the 2023-24 Teacher of the Year are:
“Sondra is an extremely gifted teacher who is deeply respected by our faculty, staff, and parents in our school community,” said Franklin Elementary Principal Dr. April Carrigan. “She is an expert at making her students feel safe and valued, and her classroom exudes kindness and respect. Sondra works hard to build a classroom climate and culture optimal for student learning. She exudes positive and enthusiastic energy and engages her students by transforming her room and incorporating intriguing activities. By creating special learning experiences for her students, Sondra instills a love of learning in each of them.”
“Congratulations to Sondra Wilson-Martin for being recognized as a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. Sondra represents the best of the dedicated professionals who are committed to preparing Tennessee’s future generations of citizens and leaders. Our community is blessed to have the best public schools in our nation. Franklin Special School District’s teachers and staff are steadfast leaders in working with parents and students to ensure education excellence in every classroom,” said State Representative Sam Whitson. “I am happy for Sondra for this great recognition of her outstanding devotion to her profession, Franklin Special School District, and especially the students fortunate to have her as their teacher over the years.”
“It is an honor to congratulate Sondra Wilson-Martin for being recognized as a teacher of the year finalist. Through her outstanding work she is transforming the lives of young people and empowering students to reach their full potential,” said State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson. “Her dedication is an inspiration to all Tennessee teachers who work hard every day to serve their students.”
The Tennessee Teacher of the Year and Grand Division winners will be selected after interview rounds with each finalist. Finalists will have the opportunity to serve on the department’s Tennessee Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years. The council is composed of expert teachers who engage with the department and other state agencies throughout the academic year.
“Across the state, our educators are working tirelessly to ensure every Tennessee student excels in both their classrooms and communities,” said Interim Commissioner Sam Pearcy. “They dedicate countless hours each day teaching, mentoring, inspiring, and motivating their students; they cultivate a love of learning and invest in their students’ academic and future success. I am honored to recognize these hard-working and committed Tennessee educators.”
Franklin Elementary School serves preK through fourth-grade students in the Franklin Special School District.