As a young girl, Addie McCallie would often play “teacher,” mirroring what she saw her father do for almost 35 years. With both of her parents working in the school system, McCallie knew she wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps and become an educator.

Now in the thirteenth year of her career and fresh off a move to Knoxville from Chattanooga, she is finding her footing as she starts her first year at KCS and at Farragut Middle School as a sixth-grade science teacher

One thing she hopes to continue from her previous school is providing meaningful partnerships with professionals in the field.

“In the past, I was fortunate enough to connect with UGA’s small satellite research lab. My students were able to develop and print 3D models of their own cube satellites,” she said. “I’m hoping to partner with the zoo in our current work with my students. They’re going to be creating products based on orangutans in Indonesia, so I would love for them to actually be able to display their work.”

Working with professionals and providing connections between classroom content and career fields is a large part of the 865 Academies’ goal of preparing students for life after high school. Introducing real-world professions to students in middle school is essential for students to begin thinking about post-secondary plans.

McCallie’s path to middle school science was full of twists that placed her exactly where she needed to be.

Initially planning to teach high school math, it was one of her college professors who guided her in a different direction. 

“He taught science instruction, so how to teach science to middle school. All of a sudden, everything just started clicking,” she said. “I remember learning those things in middle school, but it didn’t make sense until I realized this is how you teach it, and this is how you teach it well.”

She also has a soft spot for her sixth-grade students. McCallie pivoted to the middle school path after spending a weekend with students of that age at a church youth retreat, and she’s “never looked back.”

“Middle schoolers are the best,” she said. “I was surprised at how articulate and clever they were and fell in love with their eagerness to learn.”

McCallie recently reflected on why she chose this profession, and she narrowed it down to two main reasons.

“It really comes down to believing that all children should have access to free and high-quality education, and all of us, all of the adults, all of my colleagues, should be able to empower and encourage each other as we’re working together to make all of our students successful,” she said. “Finding places where I can get some rest and also encourage others is really where I find my energy.”

Knox County Schools is committed to ensuring there are Great Educators in Every School. Know someone who should be recognized for next month’s Teacher Spotlight? Reach out to Kaleigh Cortez at

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