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Jackson Teacher Surprised With $10,000 Scholarship From WGU Tennessee

Mar 22, 2019

JACKSON – WGU Tennessee – a nonprofit, online university that is part of the Drive to 55 effort – surprised third-grade teacher Emily Stutts of Thelma Barker Elementary School with a $10,000 scholarship Tuesday afternoon.

Stutts learned that she had won WGU Tennessee’s Tenn-K Scholarship during a special ceremony held at her school where faculty, staff and her family were in attendance. Stutts was surprised with a commemorative check from WGU Tennessee Chancellor Kimberly K. Estep, Ph.D.

“It’s always special to acknowledge the hard work of professionals who have chosen to go back to school with our annual Tenn-K Scholarship,” Estep said. “Emily is a dedicated and well-loved teacher, and I’m honored to help her progress toward her goals.”

Stutts is pursuing her master’s degree in educational leadership. She hopes to use her degree to take the next step in her career and become a principal to help be a leader to teachers developing their craft.

“I have wanted to take the next step in my career since I discovered my passion of helping upcoming educators develop into the best teachers and leaders they can be,” Stutts said. “I have a strong desire to be a leader in the educational field, and I’m so grateful for this scholarship and the opportunity to pursue my master’s degree.”

Stutts is one of up to 10 Tennesseans who will earn WGU Tennessee’s 2019 Tenn-K Scholarship. The scholarship – which covers roughly two-thirds of WGU Tennessee’s already-low tuition of $3,500 per term for most programs – is awarded based on students’ academic records, readiness for online study and demonstrated financial need.

“I am proud of and excited for Ms. Stutts’ receiving this recognition and scholarship. She has a true passion for teaching, and this clearly carries over to her students. The amount of engagement she receives from her students is amazing,” said Tim Gilmer, principal of Thelma Barker Elementary School. “This opportunity will allow her to model the importance of being a lifelong learner.”

WGU Tennessee and the Jackson–Madison County School System announced a partnership earlier this year to help teachers in the system continue their education. For more information, visit the WGU Tennessee website,

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