Kari Ferrell teaches third grade at Lakeview Elementary School, where she has been since 2007. Aside from previously teaching first and second grade, she also taught at Friendship Christian School in Wilson County.
Ferrell, who has been teaching for 26 years, got her degree in elementary education from Middle Tennessee State University and her master’s degree in literature and reading.
Because her husband was in the military and they moved around a lot, she has taught in six different states. However, she said that Mt. Juliet is their home, and she couldn’t ask for anything better than teaching at Lakeview.
“It’s a great school. We support each other, the teachers support each other, the kids,” she said. “It’s a good environment. You can tell that we love our kids.”
Ferrell said her passion is teaching reading to her students.
“I love to teach kids to read,” she said. “When they start reading, and you see that light bulb come on and you see a whole world open up to them, that is the best.”
She said when they learn to read, their world begins to open up and they can learn more about other subjects.
She said since being at Lakeview, one of the greatest things she has experienced has been when her previous students, many now in high school, tell her what they are up to and share their life with her.
“I keep up with my kids because I think it’s so important as a teacher to form relationships with those kids in your classroom,” Ferrell said. “We don’t just teach reading and writing, we teach the whole child.”
Something that Lakeview does is teaching students to have a growth mindset where they know it is OK to make mistakes because they can learn from them.
“I don’t want them to be afraid of failure because we all have failures,” she said. “We learn from that and we keep going, and we set goals for ourselves.”
Ferrell said it is truly an honor to be named Lakeview’s Teacher of the Year, especially because her peers are the ones who chose her to represent the school.
“It makes you feel so good to know that the other teachers want you to be Teacher of the Year,” she said. “It’s such an honor. It’s really been a fun experience.”
“As all teachers,” Ferrell said, “I truly feel like it’s such a blessing to be given these little kids and prepare them for the future.”