By CHRIS MENEES Staff Reporter They’re at the head of the class. Thirteen top educators in the Obion County School System were honored Monday night as Teachers of the Year. The Obion County School Board recognized the building level and system level Teachers of the Year for grades preK-4, 5-8 and 9-12 at the start of its monthly session at Black Oak Elementary School in Hornbeak. This year’s system level Teachers of the Year are Kristin Chandler Yates and Ped Foster, both teachers at Black Oak, and David Byars Jr., a teacher at Obion County Central High School. Mrs. Chandler Yates, a second-grade teacher at Black Oak, graduated from OCCHS in 2004 and the University of Tennessee atMartin in 2008. She is married to Russ Yates.
Foster teaches music at Black Oak. He graduated from Glencliff High School in Nashville in 1987 and earned a bachelor of science degree in music from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville in 1998 and a master’s degree from APSU in 2006. He and his wife, Jeanne Foster, have two children, Garrett and Emmalee.
Byars, an English teacher at OCCHS, as well as the cheerleading coach, graduated from Westview High School in Martin in 1994 and received a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1999 from the former Lambuth University in Jackson and a master of science degree in educational leadership in 2012 from UT Martin. He is married to Elizabeth Byars and they are the parents of three daughters, Rebecca Lund, Amanda Lund and Sarah Beth Byars.
By building level and grade, this year’s Teachers of the Year for the county school system are:
• Black Oak Elementary — Mrs. Chandler Yates, preK-4; and Foster, 5-8.
• Hillcrest Elementary — Natalie Huebner, preK-4; and Mindy Coursey, 5-8.
• Lake Road Elementary — Annette Ferguson, preK-4; and Sharon Barnes, 5-8.
• Ridgemont Elementary — Peggy Kendall, preK-4; and Paula Webb, 5-8.
• South Fulton Elementary — Patti May, preK-4; and Christa Hankins, 5-8.
• Obion County Central High School — Byars.
• South Fulton Middle/High School — Allison McMinn, 5-8; and Bill Gray, 9-12.
At Hillcrest, Mrs. Huebner is a first grade teacher. She graduated from OCCHS in 2004 and UT Martin in 2008. Her husband is Karl Huebner.
Mrs. Coursey teaches seventh-grade reading/language arts at Hillcrest. A 1986 graduate of OCCHS, she earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1990 from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 1993 from F-HU. She and her husband, Scott Coursey, have two children, daughter Kiernan and son Kade, and she attends Bishop Street Church of Christ, where she teaches teenage girls and volunteers with the youth.
Lake Road honoree Mrs. Ferguson teaches first grade at her school. A 1977 graduate of OCCHS, she earned a bachelor’s degree from UT Martin in 1981 and a master of science degree in education from UT Martin in 2005, with a 30-plus concentrated area of study in elementary reading in 2010. She is married to Scott Ferguson and they have three sons, Ben Ferguson, Daniel Ferguson and Joe Ferguson.
Mrs. Barnes is a fifth-grade reading/language teacher at Lake Road. She graduated from Grenada (Miss.) High School in 1978 and from UT Martin in 1982. She and her husband, farmer Kenneth Barnes, are the parents of three children, all of whom live in the Crystal community: Kenthia Barnes, also a teacher at Lake Road; Jeremy Barnes, a farmer; and Kelsey Barnes, a student at Mississippi State. She is a member of Antioch Union Church at Crystal.
Mrs. Barnes said she is thankful to have taught in “a community-oriented school made up of a supportive staff and parents,” adding that her children attended Lake Road and graduated from OCCHS.
At Ridgemont, Mrs. Kendall teaches fourth- grade science and social studies. She graduated from Spring Hill High School in Gibson County in 1968 and earned an associate of arts degree in elementary education in 1970 from Freed-Hardeman University and a bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 1972 from UT Martin. She is married to David Warren Kendall and they are the parents of Jason Kendall, Janet Kendall Bailey, Steve Kendall and Samuel Kendall.
Mrs. Webb, who teaches fifth- and eighth-grade American history at Ridgemont, graduated from OCCHS in 1967 and UT Martin in 1971. She and her husband, Ronnie Webb, have been married 44 years and are the parents of Dana Webb Mabry and Robert Wade Webb. They also have six grandchildren, who range in age from 2 months to 15 years old.
Mrs. Webb added that she taught at the former Rives School for 201⁄2 years and has been at Ridgemont since it opened. She has taught eighth-graders for 42 years.
“I love what I do,” she said. “American history is my passion and I want to impart as much knowledge of the past as possible to my students. To understand our present, we have to have an understanding and knowledge of the past.”
South Fulton Elementary honoree Patti May teaches first grade. She graduated from Warren Central High School in Vicksburg, Miss., in 1978 and then from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1982 and UT Martin in 2000. She is married to Cecil May III and they are the parents of a son, Cecil May IV.
Mrs. Hankins teaches fifth-grade reading/language arts at SFES. A 2002 graduate of Lewis County High School, she graduated from UT Martin in 2006 and earned a master’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro in 2009. She and her husband, Jordan Hankins, have two children, Colt and Case.
At South Fulton Middle School, Mrs. McMinn teaches seventh- and eighth- grade science. She graduated from Fulton County High School in Hickman, Ky., in 1989 and from UT Martin in 1994. She and her husband, Mark McMinn, are the parents of three children: Sarah McMinn, Sam McMinn and Sophia McMinn.
Gray, the honoree from South Fulton High School, teaches dual credit American history and economics/government. He graduated from SFHS in 1973 and then earned his degrees from UT Martin, including a bachelor of science degree in education in 1977, a master’s degree in education in 1983 and a master’s plus 45 in education in 1987. He is married to Katie Gray and they have two children, William Tyler Gray and April Leigh McDaniel, and three grandchildren.
Gray, who is also an auctioneer and real estate broker, has taught at South Fulton for 36 years.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 4.9.13