In this March 15, 2019, staff file photo, Hamilton County's high school teacher of the year, Kristin Robertson, talks about the importance of literature while husband, David, left, and Superintendent Bryan Johnson listen. Robertson was recognized Friday night in Nashville as the Grand Division Teacher of the Year for East Tennessee, while Hamblen County teacher Brian McLaughlin took the statewide prize.
some text Kristin Robertson / Hamilton County Schools contributed photo

A Signal Mountain teacher is one of nine finalists for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

Kristin Robertson teaches ninth grade English at Signal Mountain Middle/High School School, where she has taught since 2013. Previously she taught at Soddy-Daisy High School. She also works as a project instructor for 25 students each year, helping them complete a cumulative personal project for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years program.

"Teachers who form relationships see the most authentic growth and learning because their students know that their teacher believes in them and wants to invest in their lives," Robertson said in a statement. "I use the information I gain from forming relationships to invent fun activities that hook a student's interest."


West Tennessee:

> Amanda Tutor, Bartlett 9th Grade Academy, Bartlett Municipal School District

> Holly Cooper, Lexington High School, Henderson County Schools

> Tina Greenlee, Dyer County High School, Dyer County Schools

Middle Tennessee:

> Sarah Chumney, Cason Lane Academy, Murfreesboro City Schools

> Mary Pack, Loretto High School, Lawrence County Schools

> Mary Lindsay Spain, Prescott South Elementary, Putnam County School System

East Tennessee:

> Kristin Robertson, Signal Mountain Middle/High School, Hamilton County Schools

> Cristina Hasha, Jefferson Elementary School, Jefferson County Schools

> Brian McLaughlin, Morristown-Hamblen High School West, Hamblen County Schools

Robertson builds positive relationships with her students by attending sporting events and interacting with students in the community, according to a news release from Hamilton County Schools. Her classroom climate of high expectations encourages students to take academic risks and embrace challenges.

Robertson is the finalist for the teacher of the year program for the Southeast region.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year program seeks to recognize and honor outstanding teachers who devote themselves to their students and show gains in exceptional academic achievement, according to the department's website.

"I have visited classrooms in every region, and we have so many passionate and highly effective educators in Tennessee," said Tennessee Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn in a news release. "Kids never forget their best teachers; they carry the lessons with them for the rest of their lives. These teachers are changing the trajectory of their students' lives."

Teacher of the year selection begins at each individual school level, with peers selecting teachers from among their colleagues.

This year, Hamilton County Schools recognized three teachers of the year for the district in each recognized grade band, including Robertson. The honorees also included Sara Pratt, a fourth-grade teacher at Apison Elementary and Michele Jones, a fifth-grade teacher at Middle Valley Elementary.

The nine finalists will participate in interviews at the Tennessee Department of Education in Nashville, and the Tennessee Teacher of the Year will be announced at a banquet in September, according to education department officials. The winner will have the opportunity to serve on Schwinn's Teacher Advisory Council for the duration of the 2019-20 school year.

Tennessee's Teacher of the Year winner will represent the state in a national competition and serve as an ambassador for education throughout the year.

Contact Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.