Dr. Derek Voiles

Dr. Derek Voiles Morristown, Tennessee
2019 Campus Ambassador Fellow
Assistant Principal, Lincoln Heights Middle School
Contact: Derek.Voiles@ed.gov

Bio/Overview: Dr. Derek Voiles is an assistant principal at Lincoln Heights Middle School in Morristown, Tennessee. Prior to entering administration, his classroom had become a teaching classroom for other teachers across the state of Tennessee. Each day, it is his goal to equip classroom teachers to use engaging, research-based instruction to increase students’ ability to become complex thinkers, accomplished readers, and sophisticated writers. For the past 8 years, Dr. Voiles has focused on increasing student literacy and advocating for educational opportunities that support the needs of all students. In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Voiles has served as a member of Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council, a State Collaborative on Reforming Education Teacher Fellow, a Regional Content Coach for the Tennessee Department of Education, as well as a member of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition Steering Committee. Dr. Voiles was recognized as Tennessee’s 2017 Teacher of the Year. He is on Twitter as @DerekVoiles.

Educational Values/Philosophy: Dr. Voiles believes that every day is an opportunity to prepare kids for success in the 21st Century. By putting the student in charge of their own learning, opportunities arise for students to hone skills they already possess, while giving them a framework to discover the new skills and information needed to understand more about their relationship to self, others, and the world around them. His personal teaching style is characterized by high energy, high engagement delivery of curriculum that is rigorous and relevant to students’ lives. He believes in the power of teacher collaboration for the creating lessons, developing curriculum, closing learning gaps, and making decisions in schools. When it comes to instruction, his personal mantra is “No Excuses: Make it Happen”. He truly believes that with the right support, all students can and will achieve. Dr. Voiles’s work in the classroom and in teacher professional development has shown this approach to be effective with students of all ages.

Achievements: In addition to being named the 2017 Tennessee Teacher of the Year, Dr. Voiles has been honored with several other awards for his instructional practices and leadership in the field of education. These achievements include being named Lincoln Memorial University Young Alumnus of the Year in 2017, Hamblen County School District Teacher of the Year in 2016, and Lincoln Heights Middle School Teacher of Year in 2015. He received the 2015 Tennessee Core Coach Excellence Recognition and served on a team of Learning Leaders who received the 2017 Shirley Hord Learning Team Award from Learning Forward. Dr. Voiles has served as a member of Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council since 2016 and became the first teacher to be named to the Tennessee Educational Equity Steering Committee in 2018. He has written opinion pieces about the need for high quality-aligned assessments, teacher leadership, and educational equity that have been featured in Education Post, Education Week Teacher, Chalkbeat Tennessee, Classroom Chronicles, AMLE Magazine, as well as the Tennessean.

Leadership Experience: Teacher leadership and professional development are some of Dr. Voiles’s passions. He has presented nationally and internationally on topics ranging from instructional shifts, Accountable Talk, SRSD Writing, and incorporating literacy in content areas. Through these experiences, Dr. Voiles has developed a deep passion for advocating for high expectations for all students. He has realized that the only way a total transition will occur is with the engagement of teachers, community members, and legislature. In serving as a member of Commissioner McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council and working as a Tennessee SCORE Fellow, Dr. Voiles was able to learn about, focus on, and inform the policies, practices, and systems that affect student achievement and educator effectiveness at the state level. Further, Dr. Voiles has represented teacher voice in his role as Tennessee Teacher of the Year when working with CCSSO in educational forums across the country. It is Dr. Voiles’s hope that as an administrator and former classroom teacher learning and working in the policy arena, he will be able to leverage his passion and skill to provide teacher voice in educational work at the national level.

Affiliations: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Council of Chief State School Officers, National Network of State Teachers of the Year, State Collaborative on Reforming Education, Tennessee’s Teacher Leadership Network, No Kid Hungry, Commissioner Candice McQueen’s Teacher Advisory Council, Aspen Institute, Learning Forward and Learning Forward Tennessee, Teach Plus, Tennessee Educational Equity Steering Committee, Tennessee Department of Education, Lincoln Memorial University, Carson Newman University, and East Tennessee State University

Education: Dr. Voiles received his Bachelor’s Degree in English-Literature and a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Carson-Newman University, an Education Specialist Degree in Instructional Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University.

Areas of Interest:

  • Teacher Leadership
  • Rethinking Schools
  • Professional Learning
  • Educational Equity
  • Distributed Leadership Systems
  • Teacher and School Accountability
  • Teacher Preparation and Retention
  • Education Policy and Practice