During the Wednesday, April 18, Sewanee Civic Association meeting at St. Mark’s Hall, Cindy Potter will receive the Summa Cum Laude for Community Service Award for her continuing dedication to the outdoors, education and community.
Cindy moved to Sewanee in 1980 when her husband, Bran, joined the University’s faculty. Much of her life has focused on serving area children. She taught at the Sewanee Children’s Center and was the PTO sponsored librarian at Sewanee Elementary School. She then taught for 25 years in the Franklin County school system and was a finalist for Tennessee Teacher of the year. She joined the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School community and helped to begin the sixth grade program. She taught humanities and science courses, where she combined her love of nature, poetry, writing and song.
She initiated the “My Spot in the Woods” program, where each student revisited their own adopted place in the forest to make observations and write in their learning logs. That program was featured in an issue of The Tennessee Magazine.
She has served on the Duck River Board, and on the Lease Committee. She is currently a member of the Community Council, and serves as chair of the Community Action Committee.
In 2014, she was co-recipient of the The Harry Yeatman Environmental Education Award. This award honors a person who has made an impact on the South Cumberland Plateau through dedication to this place, and by educating others to appreciate it.
For years she organized the annual sixth grade holiday balsam wreath sale to help raise funds for a variety of outreach projects. Students used the opportunity to support organizations that promote causes that are important to them, such as the protection of animals, scientific research and the preservation of the environment. In some of their presentations, the students told moving stories of people they knew who had benefited from their chosen organization. Charities ran the gamut from large organizations such as Save the Children and the American Cancer Society to more local causes like Sewanee’s Operation Noel or the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn.