Congratulations to Oak Ridge Schools' Teacher of the Year

February 15, 2018

Last month, Oak Ridge Schools announced their school-level teachers of the year. The Tennessee Department of Education encourages districts to recognize teachers who care about children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee students, and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. The Teacher of the Year program recognizes and honors outstanding teachers in Tennessee.

Goals of the program are to:

  • Promote effective teaching practices by recognizing and rewarding outstanding teachers.
  • Engage regional teachers of the year in education policy making through the Teacher Advisory Council.
  • Encourage participation by every school in the state so that all Tennessee teachers may be recognized and rewarded.
  • Build a network of local and state corporate sponsors.
  • Provide a network for teachers to share effective practices.
  • Encourage a sense of professionalism in teaching.
  • Encourage greater participation in building a strong community-school partnership.
Oak Ridge Schools would now like to congratulate the district-level Teacher of the Year: Steve Reddick.

Mr. Reddick has been teaching at Jefferson Middle school for 34 years. He received a B.A. in History and M.A. in British and European History from the University of Tennessee as well as a M.A. in Modern Irish History from University College in Cork, Ireland.

Mr. Reddick is an 8th grade American History teacher. He believes there is no more relevant or exciting subject to teach, as students are “citizens in training,” who will one day vote, pay taxes, serve our country, and be part of our local, national and global communities. Steve notes that democracy requires “lots of practice” and engaged citizens who embrace their civic responsibilities with discernment, reflection, and a seriousness of purpose. He utilizes print and electronic resources to develop his students’ reading, writing, thinking, and discussion skills, as well as the “habits of mind” that they will need to become active, engaged citizens. Students compare differing points of view, weigh evidence, and discuss topics and historical interpretations respectfully.

Mr. Reddick makes a point of framing these habits in both historical and contemporary contexts. Steve likens historical facts to an “alphabet and vocabulary of citizenship.” Students must learn to use these factual components to build “sentences and paragraphs” of understanding about what it means to be American citizens in the 21st century. With these tools, they begin to see themselves and our country in a historical context. They learn that the American ‘experiment’ is an ongoing journey of trial and error, successes and failures, triumphs and struggles. Steve also encourages his students to understand that creativity, courage, civility, and humor are critical to the debates that sustain our democracy.

In addition to his dedication to students in the classroom, Mr. Reddick has served in many roles including:
• Athletic director,
• Acting administrator,
• President of the Oak Ridge Education Association (OREA),
• Teacher leader,
• 8th grade team leader,
• Head coach for cross country,
• Assistant coach for track and field,
• Pre-AP teacher trainer,
• TCAP evaluator,
• Grant reviewer,
• Williamsburg Foundation peer facilitator,
• Presenter at the U.S. Department of Energy,
• Curriculum specialist for Science Applications International Corporation,
• Research scholar for Australian National University,
• Planning and steering committee member for the Showcase Geography conference,
• Mentor teacher for the Tennessee Geographic Alliance,
• Teacher workshop trainer for the National Geographic Society,
• Test item writer for the Tennessee secondary geography teacher certification test,
• Test item writer for the National Geographic Society National Geography Bee,
• Program and steering committee and newsletter editor for the Tennessee Geographic Alliance.

He has received numerous awards and other recognition including:
• University of Tennessee Educators Hall of Honor
• Leadership and Legacy: Lessons from George Washington
• WBIR Teacher of the Week
• Mellon Fellowship, Virginia Historical Society
• PhD Fellowship, Australian National University
• Highest honors in Master of Arts at University College in Cork, Ireland
• Rotary International Scholarship
• Magna cum laude in Bachelor of Arts, the University of Tennessee
• Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tennessee

Steve has an impressive list of academic achievements including many published articles in professional journals and public presentations stateside and internationally. Locally, he is also a musical celebrity, participating in a variety of bands including the Ridge City Ramblers, Shamrock Road, Carroll Hollow, High Altitude, and The Diablos.