Sherry Tiner teaches art at West Wilson Middle School and is currently in her 18th year there.
Tiner received her degree in art education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After graduating, she worked in graphic design and was the art director at a companyin Chattanooga before beginning her teaching career.
Throughout her career, Tiner has been blessed to be a working artist who has never had to push her passion to the side. Before teaching, she worked in graphic design, but she has always enjoyed hands-on art.
Art and music were a significant part of her life growing up. Both her mother and grandmother were artists, and one of the most influential people in her life was her band director who taught her to strive for excellence and do things the right way.
Tiner is appreciative of Wilson County Schools’ commitment to the arts, especially when she started her career, many schools were cutting out the arts.
Besides teaching, she is also the coordinator for Wilson County Schools’ exhibit at the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. Two pieces of student art are selected for each grade level and displayed at the Frist.
“It really promotes the arts for our county, and it gets our county’s name out that we promote the arts,” she said. “The students and teachers love it. It’s a really great thing that Wilson County Schools does.”
She is also involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the school, which she called one of the greatest blessings of her life.
Art is important to learn because, while the students enjoy it, they might not fully understand how influential and a part of daily life it is. Art also allows them to express themselves by giving them a chance to have fun and explore their own creativity rather than fitting into any specific style.
“When you take that pressure off of them, that’s when they start blossoming,” Tiner said.
She also teaches a lot about advertising in her honors art class and helps prepare those students who may be interested in that career.
Along with being Teacher of the Year at WWMS, Tiner is also the Wilson County middle school nominee for Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year.
“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “I feel so blessed and so honored because so many people have poured into my life and mentored me and I’m just so thankful. It feels more like it’s about them, honestly, than it is about me.”
She said their help and encouragement continues to inspire her to do the same for others.