WestTeach, a professional development program for teachers in the 21 counties of West Tennessee, will welcome Greenfield native Kandace Jackson when it convenes in August.
“At Greenfield, Mrs. Jackson is actively growing a business and marketing program that provides our students with professional opportunities after high school, and we are excited that she is has been selected by the WestTeach program allowing our students to further benefit from her teaching,” noted Jeff Cupples, Greenfield School principal. Applicants must be recommended by their principals and directors of schools to participate in the program.
According to WestStar coordinator Virginia Grimes, through WestTeach, teachers gain insight into the economic needs and opportunities in West Tennessee, build links with industry and community leaders and get an out-of-the-classroom view of students’ lives from community child resource agents.
New to the Weakley County System in the 2019-2020 academic year, Jackson previously garnered recognition as South Fulton High School’s Teacher of the Year and earned the 5-Star Teacher designation. In her first year at Greenfield she has served as the FBLA Advisor, Yearbook Advisor, and on the Harvest Carnival Planning Committee. During the COVID-19 closure, she has volunteered with the meal distribution.
As a Career and Technical Education teacher, Jackson is looking forward to the collaboration and networking the WestTeach program affords.
“I hope to gain insight on the employment needs in West Tennessee so that I can take that information back to my classroom and prepare my students to meet the demands of the workforce when they graduate and leave Greenfield School whether they are headed on to a post-secondary institution or into the workforce,” she explained.
“I also would like to build connections and network with community leaders to ensure that I can take advantage of as many learning opportunities for my students as possible, whether that is through work-based learning or field trip experiences.”
“Community-minded people” are the targeted group of WestStar and its programs as they focus on public service endeavors. WestTeach applicants must be K-12 teachers who aspire to stay in the classroom but want to be leaders in their schools. Selection is also based on leadership achievements and potential to contribute to the region’s educational system.
Jackson has already shown her commitment to her community as she participated in the Adopt-a-Site program, park clean-up and beautification of Martin, where she resides with husband Mark and children Molly and Ross. She has also coordinated annual food drives and toy drives to benefit the Carl Perkins Center in Huntingdon.
The new WestTeach class will come together in August for the first two days of their experience. First, they will receive an overview of West Tennessee agriculture and then be introduced to entrepreneurship in the area. In September they will examine “The Humanity of Leadership.” During October they will look at education and economic development, and in November they will participate in industry tours. The WestTeach experience culminates with a graduation banquet on Dec. 17.
Previous Weakley County participants in the program include Kimberly Elliott of Westview High School, and Brittan Knott, a fifth-grade teacher at Martin Elementary School.