Hannah Hopper, a teacher at Fairview-Marguerite Elementary School, has been named as a regional finalist for Teacher of the Year.
Hopper said she learned the news last week after receiving a letter in the mail.
“I was surprised and excited and shocked,” she said.
Hopper teaches English as a Second Language at the school. She has taught at the school for four years.
She joins a host of other teachers over the years who have been nominated for the Teacher of the Year award. 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.
Hopper was first named Teacher of the Year at Fairview-Marguerite Elementary School then later was named Teacher of the Year in Hamblen County for elementary schools. She is now a regional finalist in Region Core 1, which makes up northeast Tennessee.
She will have a chance later this year to compete for either state Teacher of the Year or Teacher of the Year for the East Tennessee Region.
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 is set to receive her doctorate in May in educational leadership from Carson-Newman University after defending her dissertation last week on family engagement practices.
Her dissertation goes along with her teaching practices, she said.
She believes that teachers, students and parents make up a “team.”
“I think it’s really important educators build relationships with students and their parents,” she said.
She loves her job as an English as Second Language instructor because it is an opportunity for her to learn. Though she speaks Spanish, she also has students who speak other languages.
“You do get to interact with different cultures,” she said.
Her husband is Derek Hopper and she has a 10-week old son, Luke.
She also lives in the Fairview-Marguerite district.
Hopper said she is able to go to work every day and utilize her passion.
“It’s my dream job,” she said. “I get to do what I love to do.”