Tennessee Extraordinary Educators

The Curriculum Associates Extraordinary Educators program establishes an annual tradition of celebrating and connecting best-in-class teachers who demonstrate established criteria. Meet the 2020 and 2021 class of Extraordinary Educators from Tennessee. 

Photo of Candace Sanders.

Candace Leigh Sanders

  • Class of 2021
  • Instructional Coach & Teacher
  • Red Bank Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
  • Describe Your Classroom Culture in Three Words: Motivated, Fun, Family

Candace Sanders is a compassionate educator of nine years. In those nine years, she has touched the lives of thousands of students, parents, and peers. Candace takes pride in teaching, values students as individuals, and brings experiences connecting students beyond classroom walls. She currently teaches for the Lauderdale County School District at Halls Elementary School as a sixth grade math and science educator. Candace entered the world of education after being influenced by several teachers within her hometown of Milan. She experienced firsthand the difference teachers made in the lives of their students. Candace wanted to make the same positive impact. She was the first in her family to pursue an education beyond high school.

While Candace has accomplished much during her nine years of teaching, the biggest impact has been in the lives of her students. Candace takes pride in educating students as individuals and encourages her students and fellow teachers to take pride in giving their best every day both inside and outside the school walls. She involves herself within the community to strengthen relationships beyond the classroom. Forming relationships, encouraging student engagement, and instilling pride within her students serve as the foundation of education in her classroom. Candace teaches her students more than math and science standards. She teaches her students to exude kindness, have compassion for others, take pride in doing their best, learn from their mistakes, and love deeply. Education is about teaching the whole child, and Sanders does just that.

Photo of Brandi Adam.

Brandi Adam

  • Class of 2021
  • Instructional Coach & Teacher
  • Red Bank Elementary School, Hamilton County Schools
  • Describe Your Classroom Culture in Three Words: Motivated, Fun, Family

Brandi Adam is a second-year Instructional Coach at Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Red Bank Elementary School and holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration from Trevecca Nazarene University. Having been a fitness manager at one of the most successful world gyms in the country for six years and having taught a mix of Grades 1–10 over the course of 13 years have contributed to what Brandi brings into the educational platform. In her first year as coach, Brandi supported the faculty and students at Red Bank Elementary as they worked to earn the tremendous honor of being designated a Tennessee STEM School.

Now this year, being connected to the Innovation Network and a stronger Hamilton County Coaches group, Brandi is getting to be involved in what she is really passionate about: positive growth for all people. Both organizations operate with core values such as being student centered, data driven, facilitators of citizenship, creativity and innovation, and teaching children to become career-ready leaders of our society. As a proud mother of a precocious 5-year-old kindergartener who attends Red Bank Elementary School, Brandi’s goal is to reinforce those core values every day in hopes of continually improving the lives of the students and teachers alike. Because Brandi believes in being a true lifetime learner herself, she really relishes the growth opportunities that Instructional Coaching affords. After all, If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. —Booker T. Washington

Photo of Kyle Cantrell.

Kyle Cantrell

  • Class of 2020
  • Grade 5 Teacher—Math and Science
  • John Pittard Elementary School, Murfreesboro City Schools
  • Describe Your Classroom Culture in Three Words: Teamwork, Growth, Purpose

Kyle Cantrell is a 5th grade teacher at John Pittard Elementary in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. During his seven years in the classroom, he has taught fourth and fifth grade, spending the last five years teaching math and science. He has served on the school's leadership team for the past three years and has served as an after-school tutor for the district's Extended School Program. He was selected as a building-level Teacher of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year and was selected to Curriculum Associates' inaugural class of Extraordinary Educators in 2020.

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Sandra Humphreys

  • Class of 2020
  • Grade 7 Teacher—Math
  • Haywood Middle School, Haywood County Schools
  • Describe Your Classroom Culture in Two Words: Motivated, Goal-Oriented

Sandra Humphreys is a seventh grade math teacher at Haywood Middle School in Brownsville, Tennessee. She received her B.A. in elementary education from Lane College and her M.A. in educational leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has been a classroom teacher for 12 years and an elementary school administrator for eight years. At her school, Sandra currently serves as a mentor for other teachers and for students while being a member of the Lighthouse Team for her school’s Leader In Me program. Sandra is married to a pastor and has one daughter. She spends most of her time outside school playing the piano and working closely beside her husband. During her tenure as a school educator, she has developed a keen interest in helping students reach their fullest potential. Each day she looks forward to greeting her students and assuring them that she believes in them while encouraging them to believe in themselves.

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Sandra Cagle

Educational Consultant
Curriculum Associates

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Jim Pinckley

Middle and Eastern Tennessee Sales Rep
Knoxville, TN