As a third-grade teacher, Amanda Price said the change in her students from the beginning of the school year to the end is “mind-blowing.”
“They’re young enough to still need you, but they’re old enough to where they’re discovering their independence,” said Price, who graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in education and now teaches at Taylor Elementary School in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Some of what students are taught for the first time in third grade—multiplication, fractions, extended writing—are the “gateway” to the rest of their time in school, she explained.
Price’s dedication to her students and her love of teaching led to her selection for a 2023 Extraordinary Educator award. Only 30 teachers across the U.S. were selected, and Price was the only one from Tennessee.
Winners of the award, given to teachers in grades K-8, are selected by Curriculum Associates—a Massachusetts-based company that provides support, tools and professional development opportunities for educators nationwide.
“Teachers are true rockstars,” said Emily McCann, vice president of educator community at Curriculum Associates. “This year’s Extraordinary Educators are no exception—they were chosen from hundreds of nominations and represent the best of the best.”
Dr. Valerie Rutledge, dean of the UTC College of Health, Education and Professional Studies, said Price “is a clear example of the value a teacher brings to the classroom and those she teaches.”
“Following her graduation from UTC, Amanda has forged a path that has ensured her students strive to meet her high standards but also recognize the role they play in their own achievement,” Rutledge said. “She challenges them to work hard and creates an environment in which they thrive. We are proud to celebrate her and agree that she is ‘Extraordinary.’”
Price said her time at UTC gave her a chance “to discover myself as an educator.”
“It was a safe place to hone in on, ‘OK, what kind of teacher am I going to be? What’s the rest of my life going to look like?’ You come into college, and you’re so young; you have a lot of growing up to do on your own.”