Educator of the Week: Emily Stutts

It’s time to recognize this week’s Educator of the Week, brought to you by the Tennessee Education Lottery.

Emily Stutts is a fifth grade English and Language Arts teacher at Thelma Barker Elementary School in Jackson.

The graduate from Union University started her career at Thelma Barker and has been teaching there for over 10 years.

Stutts says she chose education because her heart has always been for her hometown and giving back to others.

“I figured what better way to invest in our community and my home than starting with the upcoming generation and these children. So my heart is really for children. I’ve loved children my whole life. I have younger siblings at home, so it was an easy choice going into teaching,” Stutts said.

Stutts says the biggest reward as an educator are the relationships and bonds that are formed every year.

“I had a professor tell me once that they take your name home every night around the dinner table, just like we do theirs, and that really made an impact on me. I thought, you’re really becoming welcomed into their home and a part of their family. And that’s either in a negative light or a positive light,” Stutts said.

Stutts says the biggest challenge has been recovering and catching up after the pandemic.

“We definitely felt a learning loss during COVID, and working extra hard, and being very diligent of time management, and making sure we teach our standards. And while we are teaching our standards, also filling in those learning gaps that COVID created,” Stutts said.

Stutts says the part she enjoys the most about her job is getting to see her students every day.

“They challenge you, they make you laugh, they make you cry. They are precious people and my job is to lead them and lead them well,” Stutts said.

Stutts says what makes her classroom unique is the fact that she creates a sense of community where the students can feel welcomed, cared for, and protected.

“We have to meet their needs socially and emotionally before we can meet their needs academically. One of our former principals used to say they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Stutts said.

Stutts 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 an educator for our weekly award, just email us at

Categories: Educator of the Week, Madison County, Video