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Tanya Pitts: Searching for Gold

Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher Tanya Pitts at Oakhurst S.T.E.A.M. Academy is the Central 1 Learning Community Teacher of the Year and a finalist for CMS Teacher of the Year. 

Ms. Pitts is a firm believer that teaching provides the opportunity to build up classrooms and the community as a whole. “The moment you are assigned to a school that assignment becomes your greatest sphere of influence as an educator”, says Pitts. 

 The Ohio native didn’t start her journey wanting to become a teacher. She attended the University of Tennessee as a theater performing arts major, but quickly realized she was unsure of what career path she wanted to take. It was on a phone call with her parents back home that her mom reminded Pitts of her passion as a child for teaching others. “I would spend hours teaching my neighborhood friends, their baby dolls, as well as my dolls, all the things I learned from school,” recalls Pitts. “It was then that I knew that teaching would provide me with endless possibilities and opportunities.” Pitts would go on to finish her time at the Universty of Tenessee with a Master’s in Education. 

Oakhurst S.T.E.A.M. Academy Principal Angela Richardson describes Pitts as the epitome of CMS. “During the challenges of the pandemic, she exemplified resilience, empathy, and perseverance. She embraced all of the changes teachers had to endure” says Richardson. “Most importantly, Ms. Pitts advocates for the students and teachers. She listens to me, her principal but, she will also give me feedback that is needed to be the best leader I can be! None of us are perfect, but Ms. Pitts gives 100% and she encourages others to do the same!” 

For many of Pitts’ students, she is the first introduction they have into a formal education. So she values the importance of looking for “gold” in her students. “Setting a foundation of love and safety is important to me”, says Pitts. “I hope and pray that all my students, young and old, would say they felt loved, safe and seen in my classroom.”

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