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ESL educator wins 2024 National Teacher of the Year

Missy Testerman, a beloved teacher of English as a second language in Tennessee, has enjoyed a career in education for at least 31 years.
ESL educator wins 2024 National Teacher of the Year
Posted at 6:15 PM, Apr 03, 2024

Her students know her as Mrs. Testerman, and now the country knows her as the 2024 National Teacher of the Year. 

Tennessee English as a second language instructor Missy Testerman was awarded the prize after an over three-decades-long career in education, most recently serving as the Rogersville City School program director. 

Known in her community for acting as a mentor and an advocate, Testerman was awarded the honor after over 35 years since a Tennessee teacher last received the recognized prize in education, Scripps News Nashville reported. As part of the requirements as the latest recipient of the award, Testerman is expected to travel around the United States acting as an ambassador and advocate for teachers across the country. 

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The National Teacher of the Year Program said Testerman has been known to build "bridges between cultures" in her rural Appalachian community. 

The organization said Testerman plans to spend a year working to represent educators, "empowering teachers to advocate for students and fellow educators by using their voices and sharing their experiences with those outside of the classroom."

Testerman said, "There is often a misconception in education that we can love kids into achievement. Make no mistake: Loving and caring for our students is important, but it is not enough. If we love them, we must teach them in a way that gives them the skills they need and allows them to meet high expectations and have a future. Teachers know and understand this."

The National Teacher of the Year Program is run by the Council of Chief State School Officers, and works with K-12 education leaders. The program hands out awards yearly to give educators an opportunity to spend a year in a development role engaging in "rigorous learning experiences." 

Recipients have been invited to experience a number of high-profile career-enhancing events, including the opportunity to develop a TEDEd talk, to learn at Google and to attend a Space Camp.

On Wednesday, fellow educator and first lady Jill Biden gave Testerman a bouquet of flowers during a televised appearance. She will join other teachers of the year at the White House in the spring to attend an annual ceremony and a state dinner.

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