At the Bradley County Schools opening convocation, the annual Fitzgerald award for excellence in teaching was given to Denise George, Librarian/Media Specialist at Charleston Elementary STEAM Academy. This award, in honor of Lillie Frank Fitzgerald, was established in 2005 by her son and daughter-in-law, Rodney and Margo Fitzgerald.
Twenty one teachers have received this award since its inception. This award is the highest honor at the local level to recognize and encourage teaching excellence in the classroom and is administered through the Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation. The cash award is both personal and professional–personal to reward the teacher for dedication and teaching excellence, and professional, to be used in the classroom to impact student learning.
Lillie Frank Fitzgerald taught English and speech at Bradley Central High School for 38 years. She was passionate about teaching and instilled in each student a love of learning and a belief that academic success was possible, characteristics on which this award is based.
Denise George is a 25-year veteran teacher in Bradley County Schools who strives to create a safe, fun, and engaging learning space for her students. Some of the professional recognitions received by Denise include Bradley County Teacher of the Year 2018, twice TSIN presenter, school representative to Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation 2009-2023, and school leadership committee 2016- 2023. Denise has received numerous grants from the Public Education Foundation, 2 TVA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grants, and a Tennessee STEM Innovation Network grant which led to presenting learning results and strategies to their Conference in Nashville.
Denise was instrumental in the development of the STEAM lab at Charleston STEAM lab from an unused storage room to a fully equipped, working STEAM lab. This led to STEM accreditation and a name change for the school to Charleston STEAM Academy.
Congratulations to Denise, a professional, articulate, committed educator and recipient of the 2023 Lillie F. Fitzgerald Excellence in Teaching Award!