Being named Tennessee Teacher of the Year is probably a dream for many teachers across the state. Warren County High School teacher Erin Blalock is one step from achieving it.
“I am honored and blessed and grateful for the opportunity to represent Warren County as a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the Year. I hope to represent us well,” said Blalock.
The Tennessee Department of Education has announced Blalock is one of nine finalists for the 2021-22 Teacher of the Year award.
“I was honestly pretty shocked when I found out,” said Blalock. “I have been surprised through this entire process because there are so many amazing and inspiring teachers in our community that I look up to and who I believe are deserving of this kind of recognition. I feel that, especially these last 18 months, teachers across the county and state have gone above and beyond. I just try to do my part to do right by my students and help them grow, both in education and in life.”
Just being named a finalist provides validation for years of hard work and sacrifice for teachers who routinely go above and beyond their regular duties to truly make an impact on a school, district, or community.
Blalock expressed gratitude for the confidence shown in her and encouragement of her by school administration, and credits the support she receives from family, friends and church with making her a better person.
Blalock is a Career Technical Education Health Science instructor, volleyball coach, American Heart Association CPR instructor and work-based learning coordinator, all of which she professes to love.
“I absolutely love what I do,” she said. “I went into healthcare 20 years ago because I wanted to help people. Now, as an educator, I get to help in a different way. I get to help young folks learn about and find their passions, and then encourage them as they go out and pursue them. I love hearing from former students who are excited about getting into a nursing program or obtaining a certification. Their successes are the reason I do what I do. My students encourage me to be better every day, every year. I hope they know how much they mean to me and how much of this honor is owed to them, for pushing me and helping me grow as their teacher.”
Districts could nominate up to three educators representing each of the three grade bands. Also nominated were Meagan Welch from West Elementary and Caleb Shehane from Centertown School. The three were selected to be among the 27 semifinalists in the state, with Blalock advancing as one of nine finalists to be named Tennessee Teacher of the Year.
“I am thrilled to see the Department of Education recognize the excellence displayed by Mrs. Blalock,” said Grant Swallows, Director of Schools. “It’s really exciting for our district to be the only one in the state to have all three of our teachers of the year be selected for the next round and now even better to have one of the final nine. I think that speaks very highly of what we have in Warren County. Mrs. Blalock is an outstanding educator and very deserving of this recognition.”