Walker Valley Teacher Luajean Bryan Wins Another Major Award - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Walker Valley Teacher Luajean Bryan Wins Another Major Award

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By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB)- One of Bradley County's most honored teachers added another major award to her trophy case Monday.  The Bradley-Cleveland Public Education Foundation presented Mrs. Bryan with its top honor, the Lillie Frank Fitzgerald Excellence in Teaching Award.

Mrs. Bryan is a 37-year veteran of the classroom, teaching AP calculus at Walker Valley High.  She has been honored in the past by USA Today, Toyota/Time Magazine, the National Education Association, and as Teacher of the Year in Bradley County and the state of Tennessee.  She has also had several published works in books and national publications, on topics ranging from math to the life of a teacher.

The award is named for a legendary Bradley County teacher, and the mother of PEF treasurer Dr. Rodney Fitzgerald.   Nominated by several of her former students, she was inducted into the Tennessee Teachers' Hall of Fame located at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro in 1995. She was respected by her students for her love of and excellence in teaching.  A former student, Toby McKenzie, endowed a scholarship at University of Tennessee College of Education which is given annually to an upper class education major.

Dr. Fitzgerald and his wife Margo present the award to one teacher from either the Bradley County school system or the Cleveland City school system who is nominated by peers, students, supervisors, or parents.  Mrs. Bryan's nomination included the story of one her classes, which was so enthralled by the subject matter (calculus) that they failed to notice the signal for the next class, staying over in her class for an extra forty minutes.  Mrs. Bryan thanked her family, colleagues and students for keeping her excited about teaching.  "It's been 37 years," she said, "and I feel like I've done my best work during the past seven years or so."

She was one of nine nominees for the award, and each was described as "outstanding" by PEF Executive Director Lynn Voelz.  Mrs. Bryan receives a plaque, and $3,000 cash, with no restrictions on how it can be spent.  Bradley County director of schools Johnny McDaniel smiled and said, "We're so thankful for teachers like Mrs. Bryan.  She's been at it for 37 years and has the enthusiasm of a young teacher.  She's a real blessing to Walker Valley students and all of Bradley County."

Some two hundred Cleveland and Bradley County educators attended the luncheon, with the meal supplied by First Tennessee Bank, and entertainment provided by the Cleveland High School Show Choir.  The event was held at the First Baptist Church Adult Activities Center in Cleveland. 

Other highlights included several teachers reporting on innovative projects funded by the mini-grants awarded by the PEF.

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