Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative (LTVEC) hosted our annual Awards Banquet to honor exceptional local educators on Thursday, January 17, 2019 at at Kinfolk Farms in Lenoir City. “This event was a time to celebrate over 47 years of services from Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative. More importantly, we were celebrating our outstanding educators in the East Tennessee region. The amazing work they do each day in the classrooms, the schools, and the community makes East Tennessee an outstanding place to live, to work and to grow,” said LTVEC executive director, Pam Potocik.
Two deserving educators from Monroe County Schools were honored with the Exemplary Educator Recognition Award for Dedication to Excellence in Education: Lauren Kyle, Sweetwater High School English Teacher and Deanne Kirkland, Rural Vale School ELA Teacher.
Lauren’s heart is phenomenal,” said Kim Vineyard Freshman Academy Principal at Sweetwater High School during the awards banquet. “She is a phenomenal teacher. She has the students at her heart. She’s a great friend to her colleagues and I’m so thankful that she’s on the faculty at Sweetwater High School.”
“It is easy to imagine that the architects of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act had in mind a general-education teacher such as Ms. Kyle when outlining the goals of the Least Restrictive Environment. During her tenure as an English teacher at Sweetwater high School (SHS), Ms. Kyle has volunteered to instruct inclusion classes and, more importantly, for the past two years, has requested to exclusively instruct inclusion classes. Her hands-on instructional approach effectively promotes interactive discussions and engagement in problem solving and critical thinking,” wrote Eric Weaver, Sweetwater High School Principal in his letter nominating Ms. Kyle for the award. “For the past two years, she has help after-school tutoring to help students prepare for the ACT. Impressively, each of ms. Kyle’s tutees improved their ACT reading score by an average of four points and their English score by three points. Another example of Ms. Kyle’s advocacy for the “underdog” is demonstrated through her sponsorship of SHS’s chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Through her after-school program, Ms. Kyle empowers students to successfully confront the challenges of daily life decisions.”
In selecting Deanne for the award, Rural Vale School Principal Dennis Hicks wrote, “Deanne Kirkland goes above and beyond the call of duty in service of our school and community. She is a gifted teacher whose students show measurable evidence of learning and growth. She works very well with community events and helping our students. Deanne spends time weekly at a local rehabilitation facility, The House of Mercy, giving her time and lending her teaching skills to help the ladies in the program. Her signature humor and spontaneity helps to create a joyful work environment for her colleagues and all those around her.”
“The two words that come to mind are excellence and humility. She’s about the most excellent teacher I believe I’ve ever known. She never gives up on anybody. And when it’s hard—we’ve had tears and we’ve had happy times—but she’s never been a quitter. She never quits on kids no matter how hard it is,” said Dennis Hicks during the awards banquet. “The other word is humility, because it’s the things you do outside of school that separates you from the rest. And I seen her and I know she does a lot of ministry for people who are dealing with a lot of issues, maybe with those who have lost their way. And she ministers to those and she helps heal those broken souls. And that goes a long way in the community.”
In addition, Rural Vale School Special Education Teacher, Rachel Converse, was recognized as being the recipient of the LTVEC STEAM grant to add a LEGO Learning and Loving It Center in her classroom.
About LTVEC: Founded in 1971, Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative (LTVEC) is a public nonprofit agency formed by local school systems in East Tennessee. The agency is governed by a board of directors including member school system directors, school board members, and county commissioners. LTVEC promotes collaboration among member school systems to develop needed educational services in the region. The cooperative provides a variety of services to member and non-member school systems in East Tennessee and throughout the state.
LTVEC provides the following services: the AT Center, which provides assistive technologies (AT) that can help reduce barriers to learning for students with disabilities that affect physical, cognitive and/or communication skills; the Birth-to-Three Program, which is a nationally recognized program that provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers and education and support to their families; the Extended Learning Program, which provides before and after-school programs that focus on hands-on learning, community involvement, STEM activities, daily tutoring, and physical fitness opportunities; and, School Support Services, which provide vision services, speech, occupational, and physical therapy.