Each year, the Citizen Tribune partners with the Hamblen County Department of Education to recognize local teachers, first at each individual Hamblen County school then three system-wide winners.

This year, we’re doing it a little bit different. Instead of carrying small bios of the 18 individual school winners in a single edition, the Tribune will publish 18 individual stories in a series leading up to the announcement of the three system-wide winners, one elementary, one middle and one high school.

The series debuts with two stories today in our education section on page B6.

“The teachers in this county have always been rock stars,” said Tribune Managing Editor John Gullion. “That’s evident from the number of educators we have recognized on the state level. But this year? Over the last 10 months, our teachers have stepped up to meet challenges that we’d never have dreamt about prior to COVID-19.

“Every year it’s an honor to celebrate our teachers. This year it’s something beyond an honor. It’s a priviledge.”