February 7, 2023

Area teachers graduate from WestTeach

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WESTTEACH GRADUATES – WestTeach class members graduating in December were (front row, from left) Alyssa Bynum, Deana Sain, Haley Williams, Ann Johnson, Bethany Enochs, Taylor Record, Ariell White, Lauren Mathis, WestStar Asst. Director Virginia Grimes; (second row) WestStar Program Manager Jennifer Black, Bellis May, Melissa Berry (Henry County High School), Candi Collier, Jennifer Walls, Holly Meyer (Briarwood in Camden); Crystal Prince, Monica Robbins; (third row) WestStar Director Dr. Charley Deal, UTM Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver, Dana Paramenter; (back row) Jamie Knott, Tabias Hood, Clayton Morris (West Carroll High School), Spencer Ezell (Huntingdon High School), Wes Holmes, Bob Sparks, Rebecca Rainey, and (not shown) Lisa Forsythe.

The fall 2022 class of UTM’s WestTeach program, the fourth cohort to complete the program, graduated Dec. 13 at UTM. WestTeach was created as a class project by UTM’s 2017 WestStar Leadership class as a teacher-development initiative. The 24 teachers who completed the program on Dec. 13 bring the total number of WestTeach graduates to 73.

Teachers from Benton and surrounding counties who were members of the 2022 WestTeach class are Melissa Berry, Henry County High School; Spencer Ezell, Huntingdon High School; Holly Meyer, Briarwood Elementary in Camden; and Clayton Morris, West Carroll High School. 

A new class is selected annually by the program’s advisory committee following teacher nominations by school superintendents. Teachers selected to participate learn about West Tennessee’s economic needs and opportunities and meet with regional industry and community leaders to learn more about what their students might experience outside of the classroom, both in the workplace and beyond. 

WestTeach shows educators how reaching out to their communities, including leaders and businesses, can expand their teaching effectiveness beyond the classroom. It also offers a chance to learn more about college and career readiness and workforce development opportunities and resources in West Tennessee. 

UTM Chancellor Keith Carver joined Dr. Charley Deal in presenting plaques and congratulating the graduating class. The event’s keynote speaker, Carver told attendees how pleased he was to be among people who are passionate about educating young people and positive about the future. 

“When you look at our country and all the things that we’re facing today and we’re fighting, I get encouraged daily when I go out to the schools and I meet students while recruiting for UTM,” Carver said. “We see the fruits of your efforts here daily, and so we just want to say, thank you so much for all you do.”

Learn more about WestStar and WestTeach at www.utm.edu.

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