Cleveland High School robotics teacher Ben Williams was recently named the Tennessee Secondary/Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Association for Career and Technical Education. Pictured from left to right: Joel Barnes, supervisor of secondary education for Cleveland City Schools; Jeff Elliott, the district's chief academic officer; Autumn O'Bryan, principal of Cleveland High; Ben Williams; Renny Whittenbarger, supervisor of CTE programs for the district; and Dawn Robinson, chairman of the Cleveland City Schools Board of Education. Photo courtesy of Cleveland City Schools. Contributed Photo/Times Free Press

This story was updated at 9:44 a.m. on Aug. 13.

Cleveland High School robotics teacher honored

Ben Williams, a robotics teacher at Cleveland High School, was named Tennessee Secondary/Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Association for Career and Technical Education last week.

Williams has taught at the school since 2013 and quickly became "an influential educator in the Cleveland City Schools career and technical education (CTE) program," according to a news release.

He and his class designed and constructed the Malachi Project, a remote-controlled mobile wheelchair device for Malachi, a special needs person in the community, that has since blossomed into a joint venture called, according to the release.

Director of Schools for Cleveland City Schools Russell Dyer said that Williams has a heart for service and students.

"Mr. Williams is a dynamic classroom leader, and he works tirelessly to push his students to think in imaginative ways. He excels at drawing nothing but the best from his students. I appreciate his dedication to our students both inside and outside of the classroom," Dyer said in a statement.

Williams helped start the school's first robotics team, which received funding from industry leaders and won the Inspiration Rookie of the Year Award in its first competition.

He also coaches track and cross country and was voted Teacher of the Year by his peers in 2016.

Collegedale schools consolidate into Collegedale Academy

Multiple schools that made up the former Greater Collegedale School System — A.W. Spalding Elementary, Collegedale Adventist Middle School and Collegedale Academy — have consolidated into one school under one name as of July 1, 2019.

Collegedale Academy will now serve students from preschool to 12th grade. The decision was made at the 2019 Greater Collegedale School System annual constituency meeting earlier this summer.

The school will serve more than 725 students with more than 80 faculty and staff members. The school's mission remains "We are a Seventh-day Adventist school established to educate, equip, and inspire students to be critical thinkers who serve others and reflect Christ's character," according to a news release.

Grundy County teacher named to the TN Rural STEM Collaborative

Tracy City Elementary teacher Michelle Wright has been selected to participate in the 2019-2020 cohort of the TN Rural STEM Collaborative.

With support from Principal Paul Conry, Wright will be working with teachers from across the state and with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network to help her build skills to lead work in her classroom and the district that implement STEM best practices for all learners, while developing a network of like-minded educators from around the state.

The school has teamed with the network to begin the process of becoming a STEM-designated school in Tennessee. There are now only 26 schools in that state that have such a designation.

The TN Rural STEM Collaborative is a program open to K-12 teachers across the state to learn how to best leverage resources and partnerships in their communities to enhance STEM education in schools.

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