Golden Apple Award: Kaley Carpenter, Meigs South Elementary


DECATUR, TN (WDEF) – When tragedy struck Meigs South Elementary school, children were left with some very grown up questions. Ms. Kaley Carpenter helped them understand and cope. One parent describes her as an angel in disguise.

Ms. Carpenter describes herself, “I’m a teacher here at Meigs South. I go to church. I am a wife, recently. I have lots of different roles, so just as myself, I am very ambitious. I like to take charge and do all those different roles while also being down home. Just being a person you can connect to and really get to know.”

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She adds, “I am a kid at heart. I love to play ,and I love to be with kids. I connect with them. I can talk to them and they can come right up to me.”


Meigs South principal Rachel Moore says, “What Kaylee endured the first semester of her teaching, from Covid to the bus accident, most teachers never endure anything like that in their entire career,  and for her to, and for her to go through that within the first few months of her teaching career, and for her to be so strong for kids in our school and our community, again it’s such a testament to the person she is, her faith.


Kale admits, “As a person I’ve always thought so low of myself, and I guess that’s just something lots of people do. They have these big goals and dreams, but they never think it could happen. It was very very challenging to get through this last semester. But I knew I needed to be here for my kids. It was hard for me to come in during those last several months and just come in, and come in with a smile on my face, but that is what my kids needed, and so to hear those words, it means a whole lot to know that not only do other people see me working and trying to be here for these kids, but they also know I’m doing the work too.”



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Andrew Harrison is happy to be back home! He grew up in Chattanooga and is a proud graduate of East Brainerd Elementary and McCallie School. He is a longtime member of St. Martin's Episcopal Church. Andrew started as a studio camera operator at WTVC in Chattanooga, and has 25 years of experience in television. He's worked as photographer, producer, reporter and anchor. Andrew spent the last 20 years in Mississippi, the last 7 anchoring the morning news in Jackson. It's a dynamic market, with no shortage of news, but Andrew is a Tennessean at heart. He's won numerous AP awards for reporting, including Best Franchise for Large Market Mississippi Stations. He was voted the Mississippi Delta's Favorite News Personality. (in 2008) Andrew is a devoted husband and father of two. His wife, Tonya is also from Tennessee. He's a big Titans, Grizzlies and Predators fan, and when it comes to baseball, the Braves will always be number one. You can e-mail him at