Educator of the Week: Crystal McCarley

HENDERSON COUNTY, Tenn — It’s time for this week’s Educator of the Week, brought to you by the Tennessee Education Lottery.

Mccarley Photo

Crystal McCarley is a kindergarten teacher at Beaver Elementary School in Wildersville.

She has been teaching there for 12 years, including teaching third, fifth, and sixth grade before landing in her current role.

McCarley originally did not want to teach kindergarten, but after her experience, it is now her favorite grade to teach and says she loves working with her students.

“In order to keep the students engaged, you’ve got to change things up a lot,” McCarly said. “So we’re constantly moving and doing different things throughout the day, to keep it new.”

She said her favorite thing about teaching is seeing growth within her students, especially socially. She loves seeing her students open up in the classroom.

“My favorite thing is just seeing them grow socially, when their little wings expand, and they come out of that little shell that they created for themselves. That to me is even better than when they are learning to read,” McCarley said.

She says there are also some difficult things about teaching, such as not being with the students and watching them struggle, especially during these challenging times.

Even with kindergarten students, you have to reach out and find what learning style works for them.

“Not every student is the same. What works for this one over here may not work for this one, and you’ve got to back up and really think, ‘How can I reach that student,’” she said.

McCarley is now eligible for the Tennessee Education Lottery Educator of the Month award.

To vote for her or any other nominees, go to the Tennessee Education Lottery website.

To nominate a teacher for our weekly award, email us at

Categories: Educator of the Week