The February Teacher of the Month award bestowed by Wilson County Schools and the Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce was Sarah Cochran at Rutland Elementary School.

According to Rutland Elementary School Principal Cathy York, “Ms. Cochran walks into the school each morning wearing a big smile. She truly has cultivated a positive and academically-focused learning environment for her students.”

York wrote in her recommendation that Cochran comes to work early and works late and on the weekends to make sure she is ready for her students, as well as frequently providing students additional help after school.

“Ms. Cochran has been instrumental this year in helping form a Rutland Student Council, and with her leadership, they have already made a big impact on our school,” York wrote.

Additionally, York wrote that Ms. Cochran is “the first to jump at opportunities to attend professional development even when they are on weekends, and she is always ready to share her learning with the faculty afterwards.

“In addition to her positive attitude and willingness to lead, Ms. Cochran is dedicated to her role. In fact, she has not missed a single day of school this year! Rutland is blessed to have such a dedicated teacher.”

Cochran was in the middle of giving a test in her classroom when she was totally surprised by the school and chamber representatives with her certificate and flowers.

A recipient of a Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce Teacher Grant in 2015, Cochran told the representatives she used the money to purchase various items for the classroom. A couple of examples in use that day were step pumps for the students to use while sitting at their desks to work off extra energy, as well as sheer colored fabrics to cover the lights to create a calming environment during tests, and more.

About the Teacher of the Month Award

The new Teacher of the Month Award is one that will honor teachers who “demonstrate hard work and commitment to their students,” explained Dr. Kate Burgun, supervisor of instruction for grades nine-12.

Burgun explained that each month Wilson County Schools’ supervisors ask principals to submit the name of one teacher who has demonstrated hard work and commitment to their students as their school’s Teacher of the Month.

“We also ask principals to write an explanation of why they selected this teacher,” Burgun explained. “Then, Wilson County Schools’ supervisors review the schools’ submissions and select one teacher to be Wilson County Schools and Lebanon/Wilson Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Month.”

Supervisors included in the selection process are Burgun, Deputy Director of Academics Monty Wilson, Supervisor of Instruction Grades Kindergarten-Five Yvonne Smith, Supervisor of Middle Schools Grades Six-Eight Angela Rohen, Supervisor of Testing and Accountability Jennifer Cothron, and CTE Supervisor Bill Moss.

Melanie Minter, president of the chamber, said the organization was “thrilled” when asked to partner with the school system on this honor.

“We believe in education and in the teachers who work so hard day-in and day-out. We are so happy to be a part of this, and we look forward to more partnerships like this in the future,” said Minter.

Burgun said the school system wanted to partner with the chamber to award the
Teacher of the Month “because we want our teachers to know that not only does Wilson County Schools appreciate their dedication to students, but that the Wilson County community values their hard work as well.”