Kingsport City Schools Announces 2017 Teachers of the Year

Published April 4, 2017 at 10:05 a.m.

KINGSPORT, Tenn.Kingsport City Schools has announced its 2017 district-level Teachers of the Year. Todd Wagner (grades Pre-K–4), Marsha Buck (grades 5–8), and Joanna Nash (grades 9–12) are this year’s award winners.

Todd Wagner, a kindergarten teacher at John Adams Elementary School, is the district winner for grades Pre-K–4. Wagner is in his seventeenth year with Kingsport City Schools. During his career, he has served as literacy teacher leader, core coach for social studies, regional content coach for Pre-K–Kindergarten numeracy, a member of leadership teams at John Adams and Thomas Jefferson elementary schools, and a mentor for student teachers and new teachers. He has also been named a teacher of the month by Milligan College and radio station WTFM.

“The culture of Mr. Wagner’s classroom is built upon a belief system that all students can achieve at high levels. This is evident as soon as you enter his Kindergarten classroom,” said Adams Principal Mrs. Christy Free. “I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact Mr. Wagner’s instructional leadership has on our students. Students are held accountable for their learning and they demonstrate skills that will support them in the 21st century learning environment. Mr. Wagner is very deserving of this recognition and to represent Kingsport City Schools as Teacher of the Year.”

Marsha Buck, an eighth grade science teacher at Ross N. Robinson Middle School, is the district winner for grades 5–8. Buck has a total of sixteen years of teaching experience, and eight in her present position. She has served on the Robinson teacher leadership team, as a district teacher leader in science and as department chair in science for multiple years. She has been a member of the statewide science textbook adoption committee, a member of the KCS Teacher Leader Academy, and served as a State TN CORE Coach for Literacy in Science. Buck has been named Teacher of the Year at John Sevier Middle School (2007) and Robinson Middle School (2014), also being named a district-level Teacher of the Year in 2014. She is the current coach for the Science Olympiad team at Robinson, was selected to serve on Governor Bill Haslam’s Teacher Cabinet, and was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey to serve on the State Science Standards Review Committee 

Buck has also been named a First CORE Region Teacher of the Year finalist and will advance to competition in the State’s grand division. Winners in the grand division will then advance to State-level competition for Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

“Ms. Buck is a leader who brings her ‘A game’ to the table every day,” said Robinson Principal Mr. Brian Partin.  “She has successfully led student extension programs during the school year and summer that have been supportive of the STREAM initiative. Ms. Buck has also been instrumental in providing support and mentorship to her peers by serving on Governor Haslam's Teacher Cabinet and by leading professional development opportunities at the local, state and national levels. She values her role as an educator and we are blessed to have her as a teacher and leader in our school and district!"

Joanna Nash currently teaches 9th grade world history at Dobyns-Bennett High School and is in her sixteenth year as a teacher with Kingsport City Schools.  She is the district winner for grades 9–12. Nash has a total of 20 years of experience in education with both KCS and Bristol City Schools, having previously served as an instructional assistant, coordinator for the homeless education program, and coordinator for the coordinated school health program. While teaching middle school students, Nash was cheerleading coach and sponsor of the student council.  She has served as leader for the World History Team and coach for the Scholars’ Bowl Team.  In addition, she has participated in the school climate committee, served as team leader for 5th grade at John Adams Elementary, taught a summer session on social studies content methods at Milligan College, and served as a KCS math teacher leader. She has also presented at numerous department in-service meetings and workshops. Nash is now organizing a trip to Europe which will provide a global learning experience for students and allow them to connect what they have learned in their world history classroom to the places and cultures studied.

“Mrs. Nash works very hard to create a learning environment that maximizes achievement for her students.  Her classes are engaging and students are equipped with the skills to apply what they have learned in very meaningful ways,” said Dobyns-Bennett High School Principal Dr. Chris Hampton.  “She is also willing to roll up her sleeves to support and serve the school when and where other needs arise. Mrs. Nash is definitely a team player and an incredible asset to both our school and our system.”

In addition to the three district winners, 2017 individual school winners are:

Grades Pre-K–4

  • Michelle Carpenter, Pre-K Special Education, Palmer Center
  • Carla Casey, 2nd Grade, Jackson Elem.
  • Renee Polson, 1st Grade, Washington Elem.
  • Ryan Robbins, Physical Education, Kennedy Elem.
  • Amy White, Kindergarten, Roosevelt Elem.

Grades 5–8

  • Jessica Chase, 5th Grade, Jefferson Elem.
  • Kathleen Donnellan, 7th Grade Language Arts, Sevier MS
  • Kristen Duncan, 6th Grade Language Arts, Sevier MS
  • Rachel Heaton, 6th Grade Language Arts, Robinson MS 
  • Heather Hobbs, 5th Grade, Johnson Elem.
  • William Miller, 5th Grade, Lincoln Elem.

Grades 9–12

  • Amanda Blackburn, Science, Dobyns-Bennett HS
  • Jimmy Burleson, Special Education, Dobyns-Bennett HS
  • Joshua French, Social Studies, Dobyns-Bennett HS
  • Jennifer Gilbertson, CTE, Dobyns-Bennett HS
  • Sam McCord, English, D-B EXCEL
  • Jenny Rogers, Music, Dobyns-Bennett HS

School and district-levels winners will be honored during the Kingsport Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Administrative Support Center, Tennessee Room, 400 Clinchfield Street, downtown Kingsport.

Kingsport City Schools (KCS) is a public school district located in Kingsport, Tenn., serving students in Sullivan and Hawkins county. The district is comprised of 13 schools, including a Pre-K, eight elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, a high school program of choice and an alternative learning program; with total enrollment over 7,500 students. The vision of Kingsport City Schools is to be, Student Focused … World Class.

KCS has been named the top school district in Tennessee as winner of the 2014 SCORE Prize District Award by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) and has earned the 2014 Achievement Award in the annual Excellence in Tennessee Recognition Program by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).

For more information on KCS, visit, listen live on WCSK 90.3 FM, The Voice of KCS, read our blog, We Are KCS, or call (423) 378.2100. We’re social too; follow us on Facebook (Kingsport City Schools), Twitter (@KCS_District) and check out our YouTube Channel (KPTSchools).