A first-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School who loves seeing the light bulbs go off in her young students brains was named the 2014-2015 System Level Teacher of the Year in the Pre-kindergarten through fourth grade category.
“I was very surprised,” Krissi McInturff said.
She was also very honored to be chosen by her peers as the Teacher of the Year, she said.
McInturff submitted an application to be considered for the Washington County honor.
“I got picked from the other schools. There are so many good teachers in Washington County,” McInturff said. “So it was nice to be recognized as Teacher of the Year.”
Her students and their parents held a surprise shower to congratulate her on the award.
Each one of her students wrote a letter, which was accompanied by a picture. All of the letters and pictures were then put together, laminated and turned into a book as a gift.
“This school is so supportive, and I am glad to be in an atmosphere that really cares about the students,” McInturff said. “I’m happy to be here, work here and be with such good colleagues.”
Seven years ago, McInturff fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
“I had really good teachers growing up,” she said. “They really molded me into who I am. I wanted to make that difference too.”
In addition to having good teachers, McInturff said her career choice complements her personality.
“I wouldn’t be able to sit at a desk all day, she said. I feel like this is where I was supposed to be.”
After completing her first year as an intern, McInturff began teaching kindergarten and fifth grade. Five years ago she became a third-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary before switching to first grade the following year.
The dedicated teacher spends time incorporating real life experiences into her lesson plans to engage and keep her young students attention. With the areas recent winter, she was able to talk about snowfall while teaching the students about weather.
“If you make that connection, it keeps their attention,” McInturff said.
At the end of every week, she holds a “phenomenon Friday”, which includes an experiment of what they learned throughout the week.
In addition, she spends about 15 minutes teaching her lessons, before the youngsters transition into independent learning to keep them moving and involved.
“It’s very rewarding,” McInturff said about teaching her students foundational skills. “I love seeing the growth. How they are when they come to me and how they are in the end.”
She said she enjoys watching that light bulb go off in her students, especially when they did not understand that lesson plan the previous day.
According to the Washington County Department of Education, McInturff has developed exceptional common core math instructional skills over her years of teaching, which she shares through professional development for the district. She has also received grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, Eastman Chemical Co. and Walt Disney World to further enhance her students education in her classroom.
McInturff said everyone at Ridgeview Elementary School is always seeking ways to help their students achieve greatness, while supporting them. She said the dedication of the administration and teachers, and the love they have for the kids, has really stood out to her during her years at the school.