NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Every year, the Metro Nashville Public Schools goes through a grueling yet thorough process of finding the Teacher of the Year.
Each school nominates one teacher, and then the field is narrowed down to six -- two teachers each representing elementary, middle school and high schools.
The final nominee is Kimberly Vaughan, who teaches eighth grade pre-Algebra and Algebra I at Haynes Health/Medical Science Design Center on West Trinity Lane in Nashville. Haynes is in the Whites Creek High School cluster, which is in the northwest corner of Davidson County. The cluster includes Bordeaux Enhanced Option, Cumberland, and Alex Green elementary schools and Ewing Park and Joelton middle schools
Vaughan loves numbers and shares that love with her students, who are too busy taking in information to complain about mathematics.
"Math has always been my strongest subject," Vaughan said. "I love math."
And she can't think of anywhere else she'd rather be.
"I try to make it fun by," Vaughan said. "I crack a few jokes then I'll put a big problem up and a big challenge problem."
During a recent classroom visit, the challenge was quadratic formulas.
"This is one you have to pay close attention to," Vaughan told her students. "Negative five plus or minus the square root of 25 minus 24 over 2."
"I love all the numbers and working. I love seeing when I put a big equation on the board and we start to simplify a big concept and it starts and the students they look like "Oh, can I do that?'"
"It's fun and exciting," said one student. "We're not just doing regular work every day. We're doing different things."
"When I get in front of the students, when I go up to the board, I feel as though I'm entertaining," she said. "Of course I'm teaching but a lot of times, math can be boring to some students. They find it difficult, so I take a challenge every year."
"Unlike other teachers, instead of them just telling us to do this and do that, she actually goes along and does it with us and she writes it out for us, so we have fun and we're getting it right," said another student.
The daughter of a professor and an executive, Vaughan said her appreciation of education has been life long and she wants her students to appreciate it, too.
"Take ownership of your learning. Work hard. I stress those two things over and over again," she said.
The Metro Schools' 2008 Teachers of the Year, one from each category, will be announced Monday at a celebration. The 2008 Teachers of the Year will be featured on NewsChannel 5 at 10 p.m. Monday.
The three teachers selected as Teacher of the Year will advance to statewide competition, and the state winners will advance to the national competition. The school district will also recognize three Principals of the Year Monday.
Metro Schools' 2007 Teacher of the Year, Susanne Frensley of Hillsboro High School, is the Tennessee Teacher of the Year for 2007.