Hannah Hopper named finalist for state Teacher of the Year

A Hamblen County elementary school teacher has been named as a finalist for state Teacher of the Year.

Hannah Hopper, a teacher at Fairview-Marguerite Elementary School, heard about the news Wednesday in an email sent to her.

“I’m honored,” she said. “I know there’s so many outstanding educators in Tennessee.”

Hopper, who teaches English as a Second Language, joins a growing list of Hamblen County teachers who have either won or been nominated for Teacher of the Year honors.

Brian McLaughlin, a math teacher at Morristown-Hamblen High School West, was named Teacher of the Year for the state last year. The year before, Amy Whaley, also a West High School teacher, competed as a finalist for the award.

In 2016, Derek Voiles, a teacher at Lincoln Heights Middle School, won state Teacher of the Year.

The list is growing even more. Last year, Chuck Carter, CTE supervisor, was named a finalist for Supervisor of the Year, and West High School Principal Jeff Kinsler was named a finalist for Principal of the Year.

Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, is also a nominee for Superintendent of the Year this year.

“That shows the work the county is doing in the field of education and it’s being recognized,” Hopper said.

Hopper was first named Teacher of the Year for Fairview-Marguerite and then Hamblen County. She then was named Teacher of the Year for Region 1, which consists of northeast Tennessee.

She will go through an interview process and a banquet will be held, depending upon COVID-19, to name the state Teacher of the Year.

Hopper graduated with an associate’s degree from Walters State Community College and later graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University.

She has received her master’s degree and her education specialist degree from Carson-Newman University. She received her doctorate in May in educational leadership from Carson-Newman University.

Her husband is Derek Hopper, and they have a newborn baby, Luke.

Perry said the school system is proud of Hopper’s accomplishment.

“Hannah is a wonderful teacher for us, we’re extremely happy for her and proud of her,” he said.

He said the latest nomination shows the strength of teachers, principals and staff in the Hamblen County school system.

“For several years, we’ve had finalists in every category,” he said.