Ask any Monteagle elementary School graduate which teacher had them most impact on their life during their time at the school and Carolyn Sartain is sure to be mentioned. With more than two decades under her belt as a local educator, Carolyn demonstrates her dedication to her students on a daily basis. A recent recipient of WDEF’s Golden Apple award, students say Carolyn is the teacher who makes them want to work harder while demonstrating patience and support.
Carolyn is from Pelham, the daughter of Reba Jo Sartain and the late L.D. Sartain. She attended Pelham elementary School from fifth through eighth grades.
“Something that is unique about my time at Pelham was that I only had five teachers during my nine years there. I also achieved a special award of having perfect attendance through those nine years. Each year, this accomplishment was recognized with a silver dollar wrapped in tissue paper with a black and gold ribbon.
“I attended Grundy County High School in Tracy City. Most of my memories of high school were involving the many hours spent with friends. The adventures that took place from football games, pep rallies, basketball games, and daily class pranks. I won’t incriminate any of my friends or myself with the details.
“My senior class was the first group to make the annual government trip to Washington, D.C., and there are several stories that some of my friends and I still to this day reminisce about.”
After graduation, Carolyn headed to college.
“I earned my Associates of Science from Motlow State Community College. Then, I attended Middle Tennessee State University where I acquired a Bachelor’s of Science. While attending MTSU I was on the Dean’s list for all two years. During my sixth year of teaching, I took advantage of the master’s program being offered at Coalmont Elementary. My Master’s in Instructional Leadership was completed from Tennessee Technological University.
“Actually, teaching was not my first career choice. I began my post-secondary career with the goal of becoming a computer programmer. As I was preparing for that, I decided that I would not be happy with being isolated in a cubical with only a computer.
“The choice became evident that I was destined to interact and impact the future children. I was working with children in the community and my family. I also had family members who were in the teaching profession. They were wonderful mentors and role models for me for my career choice as well as a human being. After my first year of college, I changed my major and have never looked back. I truly love every day that I am able to help a student work toward his or her full potential.
Currently in her 24th year of teaching, Carolyn has worked at several schools in the community.
“I have taught everything from fifth through eighth grades and pre-algebra at the high school level. I spent a little more than a year as assistant principal at GCHS. My teaching career has taken me from Tracy City Elementary, Grundy County High School, Pelham Elementary, back to Tracy City Elementary before landing at Monteagle Elementary. Every stop along my journey has afforded me a tremendous experience. I feel as though I was placed in that particular location for a purpose. My hope is that I met or exceeded that purpose and was a positive role model for someone.
“I am in my 12th year at Monteagle Elementary. When I was given the opportunity to teach at Monteagle Elementary it was teaching sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science. I did enjoy this, but my real love is teaching math.
“About six years ago, the chance presented itself and I was able to teach math once again. During this time, I was assigned with teaching seventh and eighth grade math, as well as, Algebra I. My 12-year career at Monteagle Elementary has been marked with many daily rewards of which I am very proud of. There have also been two accolades. First, being voted as Monteagle Elementary’s 2014 Teacher of the Year, and second, being selected as News Channel 12’s Golden Apple Award Recipient.”
Carolyn’s teaching is not restricted to regular school hours. She works with students before and after school to make sure they are prepared for high school.
“As a teacher, there is never enough time to complete all that is needed to be done. I have always had an open door policy for a student to come in early or stay late to get the extra attention he or she may need. I feel that if a student is wanting help, that as a teacher I need to do whatever I can to help them to be successful.
“This has also been extended to students that have gone on to high school and post-secondary. I want them to know that I am their biggest supporter in all of their future endeavors.
“Another extra that I have had the opportunity to be involved in was when Monteagle Elementary offered Algebra I to eighth grade students. This permitted them the advantage of entering high school in an advanced placement in math allowing for additional math courses to be available. There have been 58 students to participate. Many of these have completed high school with some college credit. I am extremely proud of their extra efforts (coming in early to take Algebra I and taking two math courses during their eighth grade year).”
In addition to teaching, Carolyn gives back to the community.
“My community involvement has ranged from coaching ball, umpiring, running concession stands, teaching vacation bible school and Sunday school, to visiting and assisting the elderly.
“My hobbies include spending time with family and friends. We enjoy watching Lady Vols (basketball and softball), UT Vols’ football, and local sporting events. I really enjoy spending time with the elderly and listening to their entertaining recounts of their adventurous lives.”
And, Carolyn let us in on one of her secrets.
“Most people do not know that I am very tender hearted and a bit mischievous!”