By Kendall Patterson
Brianne Matheney, English teacher of Chester County High School, and her success as an educator is a story that has been recognized statewide.
On June 3, the Tennessee Department of Education announced the nine statewide finalists for the 2021-22 Tennessee Teacher of the Year award, and Matheney was one of the nine.
The nine finalists represent each of the eight Center of Regional Excellence (CORE) areas in the state as well as the Shelby County-Municipals area, with three finalists in each Grand Division: West, Middle and East.
“The school district is very proud of the accomplishments of Mrs. Brianne Matheney to represent Chester County Schools as one of the nine finalists for the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year title,” Chester County Director of Schools Troy Kilzer II said. “Mrs. Matheney has consistently met or exceeded expectations for her students with the E/LA coursework performance.”
From Matheney’s perspective, it is her relationships with her students, other faculty and administrators that allow her to do her job so well.
“I have found that building relationships with students is a key factor in student and teacher success. I greatly value my students and try my best to make each of them realize that their success, both in and out of the classroom, is important to me,” she said. “I have also found that student and teacher success lies in the relationships you build with your coworkers. I am blessed to work with and learn from the best educators and administrators around, and it is their expertise and knowledge that has helped mold me into the teacher I am today.”
Chester County High School Principal Clay Murley sees more great attributes that make her a good teacher.
“Mrs. Matheney is creative and innovative in her approach, sets high standards for herself and her students and then works hard to see that they are met,” Murley said. “She is constantly broadening her knowledge, improving her skills and sharing with her peers what is successful in her classroom.”
He thinks her strongest quality is her ability to get students more involved in English language arts.
“More important than any recognition or awards, of course, is her ability to engage students in ELA,” he said. “Her caring attitude and superior knowledge of the subject make her effective with students of all ability levels. Her kind demeanor helps her connect to students who normally do not enjoy school.”
Murley is glad that an educator like her is a part of his faculty at CCHS.
“We are incredibly honored to have Brianne as part of our Chester County High School family,” he said. “Brianne is not someone who seeks the spotlight or recognition, so seeing her being applauded for the work she does each and every day in the classroom is incredibly exciting. You know that she is going to be prepared each day and that her students are going to get her best. It is comforting to know that the students of CCHS have teachers the quality of Mrs. Matheney preparing them to become college or career ready.”
Tennessee Legislators representing Chester County also congratulated her in her achievement.
“I want to congratulate Brianne Matheney for being recognized as one of Tennessee’s top teachers this year,” said Tennessee Representative and House Education Administration Subcommittee Chairman Kirk Haston. “Our educators make an immeasurable impact on the lives of so many of our young Tennesseans, and I applaud Brianne and the fellow finalists for their incredible work in educating our next generation.”
“I am delighted that Brianne has been rightly recognized with this nomination for her considerable achievement,” said State Sen. Page Walley. “She is a bright star among many in our Chester County system.”
Teacher of the Year candidates must have been teaching full-time for at least three years. Additionally, they are evaluated based on having a track record of exceptional gains in student learning and being effective school and community leaders.
Grand Division winners and, ultimately, the Tennessee Teacher of the Year will be selected from this group of finalists and announced during an honorary celebration this fall in October following a panel interview with each finalist.
“Mrs. Brianne Matheney is a worthy candidate for that honor and recognition,” Kilzer said.
The final winner will represent Tennessee in the National Teacher of the Year competition and serve as an ambassador for education in the state throughout the 2021-22 school year.
Finalists will also have the opportunity to serve on Commissioner Schwinn’s Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2021-22 school year. The council is composed of expert teachers who provide feedback and inform the work of the department throughout the academic year.
To learn more about the Tennessee Teacher of the Year award, visit https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/education/teaching-in-tennessee/educational-recognition/teacher-of-the-year.html.