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Kirsten Legac, High School Teacher of the Year
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Carrie Bishop, Middle School Teacher of the Year
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Diane Huseman, Elementary Teacher of the Year

Hamilton County Schools announced Monday the district's three teachers of the year.

Diane Huseman from Nolan Elementary School, Carrie Bishop from Hixson Middle School and Kirsten Legac from East Hamilton School are the 2016 Hamilton County Teachers of the Year, and are now competing at the regional level.

Huseman is a third-grade teacher with 20 years of experience in the classroom, nine of which have been in Tennessee public schools.

"Throughout my teaching career, I have worked with a wide range of elementary learners," she said in a statement. "One successful strategy has always been to diversify my teaching, but not my expectations. High expectations have always been integral to the success of my students."

In addition to being a new teacher mentor and presenter for Professional Learning workshops, Huseman also co-wrote reading assessments and social studies curriculum to align with the new state standards, according to a news release from the Hamilton County Department of Education.

Shane Harwood, principal of Nolan Elementary, said in a statement that Huseman "is a master in subject content and pedagogy, and is considered a teacher leader within our school."

Bishop teaches eighth grade and has taught in Tennessee public schools for 12 years. She was named Walker County Teacher of the Year in 1998.

Bishop co-planned an after-school writing academy for students and a schoolwide summer reading book club for students and teachers, according to the news release.

"I teach the skills I believe are useful in today's workplace, such as analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, and teamwork, which I would define as the ability to work with others from different backgrounds," Bishop said in a statement.

Hixson Middle School Principal LeAngela Rogers said Bishop approaches her classroom with creativity and enthusiasm.

"Her passion for continued professional growth, innovative lesson preparation, and rigorous expectations keep her students engaged in active, participatory learning based on their individual needs," Rogers said in a statement.

Legac teaches grades 10 through 12, and has spent each of her 10 years teaching in Tennessee public schools.

She has been the math chairwoman at East Hamilton for six years and a mentor for teachers and supervisors for student teachers. She was named East Hamilton Teacher of the Year this year and last, according to the statement.

"I approach problem solving as a thinking process rather than a skill to be learned," said Legac in a statement. "Students do not need a magic bag of formulas; instead, they need to rely on their own brainpower. I believe it is my responsibility to give them the confidence and understanding to trust their own ideas and thought processes."

East Hamilton Principal Gail Chuy said Legac has integrated project based learning into her classroom using a variety of technology platforms.

"She places her students' needs and capabilities among her highest priorities; her expectations for her students are matched only by the expectations she places on herself," Chuy said in a statement.

The regional teachers of the year will be named in March and will then compete in the state competition for the 2016 Teacher of the Year, which is announced in September.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at kendi.anderson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow on Twitter @kendi_and.

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