Outstanding Educator — HCPS: Paula Petree

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By Brad Bowman

By Brad Bowman


The Henry County Chamber of Commerce honored Paula Petree as an outstanding educator for Henry County Public Schools.

Basic Bio

Lived in Henry County since age 11.  Graduated  from Henry County High School and Cumberland College (now University of the Cumberlands).  

Taught kindergarten for half a year in Union County, Tenn., and then moved back to Henry County and spent one year at the middle school.  Twenty-seven of Petree’s 28 years have been at Campbellsburg Elementary.

What led you to being chosen?

 I think that I work with a great group of educators who are very appreciative of each other.  As Instructional Coach, I am able to work with each teacher in the building, helping whenever I can.  We are a very close faculty.

Why do you like teaching?  

I like teaching because it is just fun.  I believe teaching is a calling, and that is what I have been called to do.  When you begin the year, you have a whole group of children who are looking to you for direction and instruction.  I always wanted my classroom to be a place where we could all have fun while we were learning.

What do you like to teach?

 I have taught kindergarten through fourth grade.  Honestly, I don’t have a favorite.  There are good and bad things about each grade level.  You just adapt to the level of children you are teaching.

How many children do you teach a year?  

I have had as many as 30 students in a class and as few as 18.  For the last 3 years, I have been instructional coach at Campbellsburg, so I have not had a homeroom.

What are the challenges in the classroom?  

A big challenge in the classroom is that there are not enough hours in a day!!  Teachers are always evaluating what’s going on in their classroom and planning ways to improve things.  A teacher today has many responsibilities, some of which actually divert her attention from where it should be - on teaching children.  I would say that is one of the most frustrating things about being a teacher - there are many added responsibilities.

What strengths do you have as an educator?  

I think educators need to be patient, creative, knowledgeable, and flexible.  These are qualities I believe I possess.  Above all, teachers need to have a heart for what they do.

What do you hope for the future?  

Well, as I am retiring this June, I hope to have some free time to travel with my husband.  I also hope to become more involved in the community and volunteer at school.

What do you do for fun outside of school?

 My family and I are very involved in our church.  We also enjoy going camping.

Do you have any hobbies?

 I enjoy singing with a praise band at our church.  I also enjoy playing the keyboard and reading.  I enjoy going to museums and learning about events and people from the past.

Do you have a family?

 I have been married to my husband Terry for 28 1/2 years.  We have 2 children, Sarah - 20, and Matthew 18.