Vicki Yates retires after decades of dedication to education reporting

Posted at 9:56 AM, May 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-25 10:59:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Middle Tennessee prepares to bid farewell to a familiar face as NewsChannel 5 anchor Vicki Yates retires after a remarkable career spanning over three decades.

Known for her unwavering commitment to education reporting, Yates leaves behind a legacy of inspiring stories and heartfelt connections with students, teachers, and communities across the state.

Yates, who joined the NewsChannel 5 team in 1990, quickly became a household name, capturing the hearts of viewers with her genuine passion for education. Throughout the years, she received multiple awards for her long-running franchise "School Patrol," which shed light on the remarkable achievements and challenges within Middle Tennessee's schools.

One of Yates's closest allies during her career was photojournalist Charlie Woodward, who was not just a colleague but also a dear friend. The pair embarked on countless school visits, capturing the essence of classrooms, field trips, and beyond through their lens.

Woodward fondly recalls their adventures together, often accompanied by Yates's ever-changing hairstyles.

"Many times, we'll shoot a story on a Wednesday, and it'll run maybe a week later, and between that Wednesday and the following Wednesday, the hair would be nowhere close to the same."

The journalist duo covered stories on students of all ages, from kindergartners taking their first steps into the world of education to college seniors ready to embark on their professional journeys.

Woodward explains that Yates's unique perspective as a mother of three children attending public school allowed her to connect deeply with the challenges faced by both parents and students.

“We had a really interesting dynamic with school patrol because a lot of people don't know this; she's a mom with three kids and they all went to public school, and she would always handle the parent end of it and how it affects the kids' part of it,” said Woodward.

For decades, Vicki was in your home, communities, and schools—highlighting students' talents on the stage and cheering them on as they walked across it.

From documenting dance performances to celebrating students' achievements in poetry and singing, Yates captured the magic and potential present in every child.

School Patrol changed education reporting by providing viewers with a firsthand look at the incredible possibilities within the education system.

The stories shared on School Patrol showcased future doctors, entrepreneurs, engineers, and mechanics, demonstrating that, with dedication and support, the sky is truly the limit for young minds.

Yates not only gave teachers and students a platform to express their experiences but also became a teacher herself, imparting valuable lessons on the importance of education to viewers near and far. Her ability to blend journalism and education created a unique approach to storytelling, leaving an impact on the communities she served.

As Vicki Yates steps away from the anchor desk, her departure does not mark the end of the remarkable stories that have touched countless lives.

NewsChannel 5 pledges to continue sharing the journeys of exceptional teachers, students, and more, carrying with them a piece of the magic that Yates brought to every story she told.