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First-Year Teachers of the Year

April 27, 2017


The first year of teaching isn’t easy. Right out of the gate, beginning educators must master curriculum, discover their teaching style, build relationships with new families as well as new colleagues while also keeping their students on track for success. And each year, our district honors a group of these outstanding teachers from elementary, secondary and special education with the Diane Kent-Parker First-Year Teacher Award.

Principals can nominate any teacher who has made significant professional success in their initial year of teaching. Selection committee members review portfolios and video submissions from nominees and observe them in their classrooms. Based on this rigorous selection process, the following teachers have been chosen to receive the 2016-17 Diane Kent-Parker First-Year Teacher Award:



Courtney Massengill, 5th Grade, Green Magnet Elementary School

Principal Lisa Brown says: “Courtney is a dynamic, engaging teacher. Her classroom buzzes with activity and excitement as her students engage with each other and the curriculum in creative ways. She also is deeply committed to building relationships with families. Her classroom consists of diverse students from around the globe, some who are newly adjusting to our country. Courtney organizes home visit conferences with parents by asking local apartment complexes to use their facilities so she can meet with parents and interpreters. By building strong relationships with families, Courtney makes school a safe place for her students and a place that they enjoy.”


Teacher with students



Kathryn Anne Bush, Animal Science, Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School

Principal Trent Evans says: “Through their work with various types of animals, Kathryn’s students experiences first-hand the importance of learning about animal habitats, eating habits and other vital components of caring for nontraditional pets. Under her watchful eye, students get to see and experience life as they are learning. She has a keen understanding of children, as well as that special knack for bringing out the best in each child by helping them feel confident and self-assured in their abilities. Her passion to teach and her desire to help students explore and learn about life around them are what makes her unique.”


photo of teacher holding a snake



Kelly Anne Williamson, Social Studies, Broughton Magnet High School

Assistant Principal Mike Ludwick says: “Kelly came to Broughton about a month after the school year started. While any first year experience can be challenging, the difficulty of starting mid-quarter makes a first year more daunting. Kelly handled the situation with calm and poise. She plans highly effective lessons and delivers those with enthusiasm and energy. She keeps her students engaged and on task from bell to bell. In addition, she teaches some of our most needy students in a sheltered ESL class. She quickly won these students over and has helped them grow and succeed. She is a wonderful example and a great role model for all of our teachers.”


photo of teacher hugging teachers



Ianna Quashie, Behavior Support, Carpenter Elementary School

Principal Fay Jones says: “Ianna is an extraordinary disciplinarian, cultivator of dynamic learning experiences and an exceptional teacher. She excels at connecting with aggressive and volatile students to build positive, long-lasting, sustaining relationships. She captures her students’ hearts, which in turn allows them to buy in to her teaching. She accepts her children as they are, loves them through the most challenging temper tantrums and provides social skills training to help them improve. She supports her students on the most difficult of days and transforms them into respectful, self-controlled and productive leaders.”


photo of teachers with students