NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – An alumna from Tennessee State University was recently named one of the best teachers in the state, selected by her peers as one who is, “leading the charge and making a real difference for students.”
Whitney Bradley, a teacher at Bailey STEM Magnet Middle School in Nashville, was named Teacher of the Year at her school and will compete for the Metro Nashville Public Schools district-wide Middle School Teacher of the Year. She was also named the Teacher of the Year for the Tennessee’s Mid-Cumberland region and will compete for the Tennessee Teacher of the Year award later this year.
“I am humbled,” said Bradley after winning these awards. “It is a blessing to bring positive attention to the school and to this community. I am honored because people count out our students and staff all the time and now we get to celebrate the goodness of Bailey Middle School and urban educators.”
Bradley, who graduated from TSU in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, is in her second year as an eighth grade team leader at Bailey. She has also held positions at White Creek High School, and served as co-director of Camp Wisdom Summer enrichment program.
Bradley said that for her, teaching is a calling or a ministry of sorts. She loves working with the, “least of these,” because they need it the most.
“I love to see my (students) smash the menial expectations placed on them just because of their backgrounds or life circumstances,” she added. “They are lights and when they own it, I love it.”
Bradley is an instructional leader at Bailey, which allows her to work with students, and help mentor and lead a group of her colleagues to improve instructional practice through the, “Learning Through Practice” approach.
“This approach I can attribute to my days at TSU,” Bradley said. “Tennessee State taught me the value of professional collaboration and networking. I believe in highlighting the good in my team members so that we all shine together.
Working as a team allows teachers to teach to their own strengths. We hold each other accountable. “We work together to make sure the students understand the content.”
She said she also learned valuable “life lessons” at TSU, which she carried into the classroom, specifically citing Dr. Samantha Curtis, director of the Write program, who taught her about time management and not to forget what is important to her personally.
“It’s all about pacing,” said Bradley. “Dr. Curtis taught me that everyone doesn’t want 100 percent of me 100 percent of the time. That lesson has been invaluable in my classroom and at home. I love my students and give my all when I am teaching, but I still have some love left over for my son and loved ones at the end of the day. Its all about balance.”
All Teachers of the Year, including Bradley, will be celebrated at a formal dinner and awards ceremony May 11 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena, where district-level winners will be chosen.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.