Athena Davis (’00 and ’01) was recently named a top five finalist in “Live’s Top Teacher Search” contest on the nationally syndicated “Live with Kelly and Michael” hosted by Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan.
Davis is an English teacher at Cleveland High School in Tennessee, where her literature course on the Holocaust and other genocides has made an impact on her students. Ripa and Strahan talked about those courses when Davis visited the show, broadcast from New York City. Davis was presented with technological devices for her school and she was personally rewarded with a trip to Israel.
“I think a huge impact on the teacher one becomes is the teachers that person had and I was very blessed in my time at UTC with some pretty phenomenal teachers. I had many great ones but the two whom I have attempted to pattern myself after were Dr. Paul Watson and Dr. Greg O’Dea. They both, even in large classes, developed relationships with their students. They were dynamic at lecturing and had a passion for their subject matter that drew students in. Dr. Valerie Rutledge was a phenomenal graduate level education professor as well,” Davis said.
Davis said her “solid grasp of literature and writing” came from the English department at UTC. She explained that her graduate level education classes provided her with the tools “to use as a vehicle to transfer my knowledge of and passion for literature that I received as an undergrad.” She describes her academic career at UTC as “a special time.”
“I truly feel that the value of a public state university was important for me as someone coming from a rather small high school in a small southern town. I mostly credit the rigor of my classes at UTC for making me into the teacher that I am today.”
Read the story about Davis in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.