Hunter Elementary names Alicia Keplinger and Jeff Peters Teachers of the Year

Published 3:36 pm Friday, December 16, 2022

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By Hannah Askew
Star Correspondent
Hunter Elementary announces its two faculty-elected teachers of the year: Alicia Keplinger for grades Kindergarten through fourth, and Jeff Peters for grades fifth through eighth. These teachers display exceptional qualities both inside and outside of the classroom which helped them receive these awards.
Peters started his teaching career at Cloudland after graduating from ETSU but has now found his home at Hunter Elementary. He is extremely passionate about sports including baseball, basketball, and football. A graduate of Unaka High School, he played all three sports and even pitched in two separate state baseball tournaments. He has also coached both baseball and basketball for the Hunter Elementary Tigers and Unaka Elementary Jr. Rangers. Peters is just as passionate about his job as an educator as he is about sports, and strives to maintain an exciting learning environment in his classrooms.
Keplinger is a third-grade ELA and social studies teacher from Erwin. Graduating from both ETSU and Tusculum University, this is her 11th year of teaching, and she has a strong desire to educate children because of her belief in the leadership of future generations. “Giving back to the community is what I really wanted to do. Helping the students of today will grow our world for tomorrow. They’re going to be our leaders one day and I want to be a part of that,” said Keplinger.
Keplinger is devoted to her job, spending hours before and after school helping children and tutoring. She aims to keep her classroom a fun environment where students are engaged in their learning. Her main goal as an educator is to grow a community of leaders from her leadership, describing how her exciting personality and dedication to her position help her follow this goal.
An avid movie buff, Keplinger also enjoys spending time with her family including her nieces, nephews, and cousins, and considers her students to be her own children.
Prenthia Buckles, another teacher at Hunter Elementary, is one of Keplinger’s inspirations. “When I first started, I had another teacher come to me and she has been a major inspiration in my life. She was so sweet and caring and wanted to help me, and I feel like she is one of the major reasons I’ve grown into such a good teacher,” said Keplinger. Following Buckles, Keplinger will continue to inspire a legacy of teachers and students alike.
“I also want to say how amazing my principal Mr. Garland and the assistant principal Mr. Campbell are. Their morale makes the school an amazing place to work, and that’s another reason why I feel like I can excel as a teacher,” said Keplinger.
Paraprofessional Stacie Pierce was also selected to be recognized this school year for her commitment to the Hunter Elementary community.

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