April 9, 2021
Contact: Jim Maxwell
Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN Presents the 34th Annual Teacher Awards
Bristol, Virginia – The Rotary Club of Bristol VA-TN honored Bristol’s most outstanding teachers on Tuesday, April 13 during the 34th Annual Frank W. DeFriece, Jr. Teacher Awards presentation.
Teachers were nominated from the Bristol, TN and Bristol, VA public school systems with one teacher from each system being selected as the 2021 Rotary Outstanding Teacher. Each school submitted a nomination packet that was then scored by an anonymous panel of nine judges composed of public educators and business representatives.
Erika King, 1st Grade Teacher at Washington Lee – Bristol, VA and Allison Brooks, 6th Grade Teacher at Holston View Elementary School – Bristol, TN were this year’s award recipients. These outstanding teachers each earned a $3,000 cash award, an $1,000 donation for needed equipment to each teacher’s respective school, and a circulating plaque that will be on display at each school. This year because of an anonymous donor, these teachers will also receive an additional $500 for a total gift of $3500.
Working in Florida as a chef, Erika loved the opportunity to learn and adapt to Florida’s multi-cultural and language differences - often teaching other young chefs to create something beautiful with only the basic resources.
Moving back to her hometown with her family, Erika was ready to continue that teaching and adapting– with children. Working both in Bristol VA and TN school systems she held a variety of positions. During this last year, Mrs. King taught hours of live classes, delivered materials to children’s homes, set up multiple Zoom calls with each student and family, and worked a lot of late hours. She even watched Spanish TV so that she could better communicate with her Spanish speaking families.
“Her passion shows in every action”
One student in his very best handwriting wrote, “Mrs. King has inspired me to learn. I think she is the best teacher in the whole world.”
Allison is known as an innovative teacher who challenges students to apply classroom math skills to the real world. Her goal is to ensure all students who enter her classroom feel invited and safe as she praises their accomplishments both big and small. She encourages students as they work through challenges, and she tailors individual lesson plans to each student.
One of her teaching colleagues stated, “Allison embraces every child and their unique needs to make sure every child has what they need to learn. She makes sure each child feels loved and their basic needs are met. She also sets high expectations for every child, because she is an educator who believes every child can learn. No student ever feels as if they cannot succeed in her class because she finds a way to meet their needs.”
Teachers also earning nominations in Tennessee included Rachel Brown, Fairmount Elementary School, 3rd Grade Math; Catherine Lamie, Haynefield Elementary School, 6th Grade Science and Social Studies; Amity Vance, Avoca Elementary School, 1st Grade; Rebecca Porter, Vance Middle School, 7th Grade Math, Autumn Roe, Anderson Elementary School, PreK-6th Art; Richard (Rich) Reece II, Tennessee High School, AP Chemistry, AP Physics, Chemistry, and Physical Science; Lindsey Weeden, Tennessee Online Public School, US History, World History, Government, AP Government, Statewide Dual Credit World History.
In Virginia, those nominated were Sara McVey Cook, Stonewall Jackson Elementary, Pre K; Randall (Randy) Hodge, Highland View Elementary, Physical Education; Shannon Kelly, Virginia Middle School, 7th Grade Math;; Virginia Leonard, Virginia High School, CIS, DE Advanced CIS, Design Mulitmedia and Web Technologies; Tonya Niermans, Joseph Van Pelt Elementary, 3rd Grade Math.
Each nominee received a $500 cash award. An outdoor celebration was held at the Bristol Trainstation including the marching bands from both Tennessee High School and Virginia High School, as well as the flag corp and cheerleaders from Virginia High.
Signature sponsors for the Rotary Outstanding Teacher Awards include Baker’s Construction Services Inc., Bank of Tennessee, Bill Gatton Automotive Group, Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol Tennessee Essential Services, BurWil Construction Inc., Citizens Bank, Evergreen Title & Closing, First Bank and Trust Co., HVAC, Inc., Johnson Commercial Development, King University, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, Rotary Club of Bristol VA/TN, Strongwell Corporation and United Southeast Federal Credit Union.
Erika King - 2021 Rotary Bristol, VA Teacher of the Year with Dr. Faith Mabe, Principal of Washington-Lee Elementary School
Our 2021 OUTSTANDING Teachers who represented their individual schools and BVPS