Twenty-two county teachers were granted tenure during the Dec. 10 Board of Education meeting and an additional 11 teachers had their tenure renewed.

“Tenure underwent some major changes some years ago,” explained Director of Schools LaDonna McFall. “We now will recommend tenure and teachers earn tenure a little differently than they have in the past. In the past, once you’ve earned tenure, you kept it basically. But legislative changes made that look a lot different and now it’s on a two-year basis.”

After 2011, the state changed how tenure works. To receive it, the educator must have five years or 45 months in a seven year period as a probationary teacher and must receive evaluations demonstration in overall performance effectiveness level of above expectations or significantly above expectations during the last two years of the probationary year, upon recommendation of the director of schools and approval by the school board, according to the TN Department of Education.

Tenure cannot be waived or withheld, leaves of absentees do not count toward eligibility, tenure can be restored or lost via evaluations, according to the state education department.

Culinary arts teacher Becki  Louden is receiving tenure for the first time.

“Tenure is a privilege for me because of many great people in my life,” Louden said. “I am foremost thankful to God my Father for leading me to teach at this incredible Coffee County and my family who have been very patient and supportive in prayers, ideas and the many hours at school and at the Store that I spend. For Sandy Lewis who inspired me to teach and my mentor partners Angela Neal, Mindy Acklen and Tina Keele.

“I am so blessed to have Amazing Administrative Leadership from the Board, the Central Office to my school,  coworkers, club sponsor partners and a super community,” she added. “My students are talented and have been amazing working hard and have inspired me beyond words. Thank you all!”

Science teacher Amanda Costello at Coffee Middle School also received tenure for the first time.

“I have been very blessed to receive tenure during my employment at Coffee County Middle School,” Costello said. “I work with an amazing group of teachers, administrators, and staff who care a lot about students and are passionate about the subjects they teach.  I am thankful for and inspired by their lives of leadership and service to others.”

Raider Academy algebra teacher Joshua Inzer also offered his thanks.

“I just want to thank all of my faculty and administration for all the help that they have given me throughout my career,” he said. “Without them, I would not be where I am today. I am blessed to be a teacher in Coffee County.”

The 22 teachers who received tenure for the first time and will hold it until 2020 are as listed:

Coffee County Central High School

Counselor Sallie Alexander

Special education instructor Lisa Wiggins-James 

Language arts teacher Bradley Jamison

Culinary arts teacher Becki  Louden

Amanda Monroe

Jonathan Higdon 

Student Support Services’ Nicole Carney

Erica Petersen 

Math teacher Kristi Stewart 

Visual arts teacher Mary Vacek

Charles Horn 

Lara Dillihay


Coffee County Raider Academy

Algebra teacher Joshua Inzer

Computer applications teacher Amanda Wallace


Coffee Middle School

English language arts teacher Valerie Cawthorn

Science teacher Amanda Costello

Physical education teacher Brittany Piccone 


Hickerson Elementary School

First grade teacher Kayla Kanjanabout

Reading interventionist Monica Cauble


Hillsboro Elementary School

First grade teacher Emily Robinson 

Third grade reading, language arts and social studies teacher Lynn  Huddleston


Deerfield Elementary School

Special education instructor Autumn  Howell


Because tenure is now renewed every two years, 11 teachers were brought before the board to continue their tenure. McFall added that some teachers did lose their tenure. Those who were granted extended tenure are as follows:



Social studies teacher Andrea  Freeze

Math teacher Brandon McWhorter

Language arts teacher Robert Harper

Career and technical education teacher Jeffery  Hinshaw

Math teacher Kandance Perry

Comprehensive development class teacher Erin  Dobson



Comprehensive development class teacher Sandra Stanfil



Fourth grade math teacher Tiffany Newman



Reading interventionist Laurie Snyder


New Union

First grade teacher Nikki Alonso


East Coffee

Fifth grade teacher Melissa Leedy 

News Editor

Casey recently joined the Manchester Times team in March 2018. Coming off a 17-month reporter stint in Port Chester, NY, she is looking forward to slowing down and integrating herself into the community. She currently resides in Manchester.

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