Educator of the Week: Anna King Cole

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

Cole Headshot

Anna King Cole is a fourth grade science and social studies teacher at Thelma Barker Elementary School in Jackson.

She has been teaching for 28 years across the county. She first started teaching at East Elementary School, but soon moved to Thelma Barker when the school first opened.

Her inspiration for going into teaching is a little different from others.

“I did some substitute teaching and absolutely fell in love. I decided to go back to school and became certified to teach,” Cole said.

She did that not long after. She attended Lane College and University of Memphis and started her career a few years later.

She says from day one, she has had no doubts about choosing the career route of education.

“It was by accident. It was not something I originally planned to do, but I truly believe this is for me,” Cole said.

She says that over the years, she has grown to love her job. She says that learning and sharing what she learns with her students is her favorite part about teaching.

“I enjoy learning and I enjoy sharing learning, especially with my students.  I like how they open up in the classroom and have that light bulb moment,” Cole said.

Teaching under COVID-19 guidelines has not been ideal, but Cole is looking at the positive side of things. She says that the students are taking it better than she expected.

“The students have adjusted to what they need to do. They know to wear their masks, they know social distancing. It has not been as difficult as I feel it could have been,” Cole said.

Cole adds that this has been a time for educators to be creative in the classroom.

“It has certainly made me look at teaching in a different way. I had the chance to teach virtually, and I had not done that before,” Cole said. “I can see that that may be a way of the future.”

Cole 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