Two FSSD Educators Move on in State Competition

Two FSSD Educators Move on in State Competition

Two Franklin Special School District educators have been recognized as regional semi-finalists and will move on to the statewide selection process, where one finalist per region will be named as the 2021 Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year.

Laura Boyd, Spanish teacher at Poplar Grove Middle School, was the middle grades Teacher of the Year selected from the 15 school districts that make up the Mid-Cumberland CORE regional field office, to move on to state level competition. The region-level semi-finalists will now move on to the statewide selection process, where one finalist per region will be named.

Joel Hoag, Ed.D., was selected as one of three school administrators chosen to represent Mid-Cumberland CORE in the Principal of the Year contest. Dr. Hoag will compete against 24 other principals across the state to be selected as one of nine regional finalists for the Principal of the Year.


head shot of Laura Lavery

Laura Boyd

Mrs. Boyd has nine years of teaching experience, with the past seven spent at Poplar Grove Middle. Mrs. Boyd believes that relationships are the foundation of all student success. For the past seven years, all of her graduating eighth graders have gone on to successfully earn high school credit and enrolled in Spanish II as freshmen.

Her class is engaging, interactive and data driven. Her expertise enables her students to use technology to build and showcase their knowledge. Mrs. Boyd is able to “gamify” the curriculum to provide high levels of student engagement as they move through challenging curriculum. Collaboration and fun are encouraged.

She has a special passion for connecting students to their future by focusing them on college and career readiness. She invites local business and community leaders in to speak to her students and holds a College and Career themed day for students to learn more about specific colleges of interest. Her eighth-grade students are part of a High School Signing Day, where all students are celebrated individually as they announce their future high school plans.

Mrs. Boyd is a natural leader both in and out of school, providing technology related professional learning sessions for her colleagues at the local, state and national level. She is the Grant Team Representative, United Way Campaign Manager, and Building Level Technology Leader. She also assists her school leaders with social media and serves as the Related Arts Team Leader.


head shot of Dr. Hoag against brick background

Joel Hoag, Ed.D.

Dr. Hoag has been a Tennessee educator for 16 years and is in his fifth year of leadership as principal at Freedom Intermediate School. He began his administrative career as an assistant principal in Mt. Juliet  before coming to the FSSD, where he was hired in the same position at Poplar Grove Elementary for two years. Dr. Hoag said that what guided him into school leadership is what still guides him today. “I believe that an energetic, positive, and successful school climate is only possible when teachers are supported in student-centered collaboration, families are engaged in their child’s educational journey, and students are provided a nurturing environment, academic challenges,  and fun experiences, Hoag noted.

His commitment to professional growth and his desire to build upon his leadership skills is demonstrated through his participation in local, state, and national professional opportunities. He often returns this service by providing leadership outside of the district, such as his membership on the American Association of School Librarian’s School Leader Collaborative and his presentations at the Association of Middle Level Educators Conference.

“By working together, a school faculty and staff can create a campus environment that supports success, provides direction, and encourages the joy of learning for our students,” Dr. Hoag said.