As we announced last week, every year, the Tennessee Department of Education recognizes outstanding educators in the state with awards for their meritorious service and devotion to students. The department applauds teachers who care about children, who devote their professional lives to enriching the lives of Tennessee children and who demonstrate exceptional gains in student achievement. Each district in the state may submit one nominee for the state-level award. The nominee selected by Oak Ridge Schools for 2017 is Julie Kinder-McMillan from Robertsville Middle School.

Julie Kinder-McMillan

Julie Kinder-McMillan teaches 8th grade reading/language arts as well as journalism and yearbook. One of her passions is to educate students about the Holocaust using the diary of Anne Frank as a learning platform, as Anne is close in age to her students. It provides an entry point and puts a face on the nameless numbers of victims. Julie has participated in numerous trainings to enhance her teaching, and had the pleasure of bringing in Holocaust survivor, Mira Kimmelman to meet her students.

Among her multiple roles at school, Julie serves as a team leader, yearbook sponsor, newspaper sponsor, school-wide writing program designer/facilitator, talent show organizer, multi-year Williamsburg and Naka Shi trip sponsor, and has served on many committees related to increasing achievement in the English Language Arts.

Julie participates in numerous community outreach projects. Her most recent contributions include:

  • serving as a teacher fellow for the Tennessee Holocaust Commission;
  • being a chairperson and member of the Alpha Delta Kappa International Society of Women Educators;
  • founding and directing Western Heights Baptist Center children’s choir;
  • serving as founding member/photographer for Crosslight Photo Mission;
  • judging the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) Reflections contest at the state level in the literature category;
  • reading for the Yom Hoshoah Holocaust Remembrance Service annually with the Jewish Congregation of Oak Ridge
  • participating in her praise team and choir as a member and soloist at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church

Ms. Kinder-McMillan has an impressive list of awards and recognition including:

  • Tennessee Ready to Read Scholarship Award to attend Literacy Research Association Conference in Nashville, TN (2016);
  • Belz-Lipman Tennessee State Holocaust Educator of the year $1500 Award (2013);
  • Alpha Delta Kappa International Living Memorial $2500 Scholarship Award (2013);
  • Grant Recipient for Enhancing Language Arts through Technology project with Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation (2008);
  • Legends Award of Alpha Gamma Chapter, Tennessee Alpha Delta Kappa (2008);
  • WBIR-TV Educator of the Week (2006);
  • Walsworth Publishing Company Superior Performance Award (multiple years).

Julie’s principal and colleagues agree that her commitment to teaching inside and outside the classroom benefits all students academically and socially. She has a welcoming presence that fosters confidence in her students and elicits camaraderie among staff members. In the minds of students and staff alike, they say that Julie has “always been their Teacher of the Year.” Please join us in congratulating her as the district-wide 2017 Teacher of the Year for Oak Ridge Schools.