Veteran Tennessee educator named National Teacher of the Year

Missy Testerman, National Teacher of the Year, with students in Tennessee (Tennessee Department of Education)

Missy Testerman, a veteran Tennessee educator and English as a second language teacher, has been named the 2024 National Teacher of the Year.

Testerman, who teaches kindergarten through eighth grade at Rogersville City School in Rogersville, Tennessee, was chosen by the Council of Chief State School Officers out of 55 state teachers of the year, representing states, territories, Washington DC, and the Department of Defense Education Activity.

"Missy’s message of advocating for inclusivity and success for all students meets the moment we’re in as a country," the selecting committee said in a statement. "We believe her knowledge of both the issues and the people involved in education policy and practice will lead to better outcomes for students."

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Testerman taught first and second grades for 30 years before adding English as a second language to her specialties. She currently serves as the district ESL specialist and ESL program director.


Missy Testerman, National Teacher of the Year, with students in Tennessee (Tennessee Department of Education)

"In her rural Appalachian community, Testerman builds bridges between cultures – families who have been in the area for centuries and newer immigrants – through a curriculum focused on a study of Americans from diverse backgrounds, allowing students to better understand that people are inherently the same and that they all belong," the Council of Chief State School Officers said in its announcement. "As Tennessee’s State Teacher of the Year, she forged partnerships with East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee to encourage pre-service teachers and give authentic feedback to university leaders about their educator preparation programs."

First Lady Jill Biden joined Testerman on CBS Mornings to congratulate her. The first lady also announced the first ever Teacher of the Year State Dinner set for May 1.  

Testerman told CBS Mornings she knew she wanted to be a teacher when she first walked into the classroom of her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Brown.

"I was very scared, and she took me by the hand, led me over to where my classmates and the toys were, and from that moment on, I wanted to be like Mrs. Brown," Testerman said.

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Testerman serves as president of the Rogersville Education Association and is a member of Rogersville City Schools’ Teacher Leadership team and a mentor for new teachers, according to the Tennessee Department of Education. She also serves as the Summer Camps Coordinator for Rogersville City Schools and serves on multiple boards and committees in the school and the community.