One of my students told me that learning to face challenges in my middle school mathematics class gave him the confidence to pursue a demanding career. Education equips students with essential critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. The Presidential Award is an opportunity to celebrate teaching and learning that prepares students to live the lives of their dreams. I feel grateful and blessed to connect with and learn from such a prestigious group of dedicated educators.

Cicely Woodard Nashville, TN | 7-12, Mathematics, 2017

The official biography below was current at the time of the award.

Cicely Woodard has been an educator for 15 years and has taught eighth-grade mathematics at Freedom Middle School for the past year. She spent the previous 14 years teaching in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, most recently at West End Middle School. Cicely is the 2018 Tennessee Teacher of the Year and a 2019 Horace Mann Award Winner for Teaching Excellence. Cicely’s students learn mathematics content through relevant contexts by working in small groups, having whole class discussions, using manipulatives, and writing about mathematics. Driven by her belief that all students deserve qualified teachers, Cicely has served as an adjunct instructor at local universities, partners with the Tennessee Education Association to offer Praxis preparation sessions, mentors student teachers, facilitates professional learning, and is featured in an Ayers Institute video and podcast. Cicely has had the opportunity to inform state-level education policy as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council, the Assessment Taskforce, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education Steering Committee, and as a speaker at numerous conferences. Cicely earned a B.S. in mathematics from The University of Memphis and a M.Ed. from Vanderbilt University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from Lipscomb University. She is certified in secondary mathematics education.