By Charlotte Underwood 

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – Teachers make a difference in their students lives each and every day. For many students, having a teacher who cares and goes that extra mile can be the difference in a successful education and graduation. We’ve all had that teacher who inspired us or helped in some way. That’s why WLAF and Eagle Tire Pros salute all of our hard working educators with a weekly feature.

This week’s featured teacher is Kaitlin Sowder. She teaches 2nd grade at Valley View Elementary School and is in her sixth year as an educator. For the first five years she taught first grade and moved to 2nd grade this year.

Kaitlin Sowder is Eagle Tire Pros teacher of the week. She teaches at Valley View Elementary School. She is pictured with her husband Thomas and their daughter, “sweet Caroline.”

Sowder is from “right here in Campbell County.” She graduated from Campbell County High School in 2014. After graduating high school, she attended Lincoln Memorial University where she cheered for three years and graduated in 2018. 

“I’m married to my best friend Thomas and we have our sweet Caroline who just turned 3. My hobbies are spending time with my family and coaching cheerleading,” Sowder said.

Sowder was inspired to become a teacher by her own mother, Denise Ray. 

“She is an amazing teacher. Growing up I watched her touch lives and love her profession and I wanted to grow up to be just like her,” Sowder said.

Her favorite part of her job is to “watch kids grow, not just academically but as people.”

“I’ve had the privilege to watch students go from nervous, quiet, and struggling to outgoing, confident, blossoming kids. It’s an amazing thing to watch!” Sowder said.

Another favorite is working with her co-workers.

To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to

“I love my Valley View family. Six years ago, they welcomed me and treated me like family from the beginning. I had an amazing mentor teacher, Kyra, that helped me so much! I’ve been blessed with amazing teaching partners and leaders in our school. I’m so proud to be a Bobcat!” Sowder said.

Every Thursday, WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood features the WLAF – Eagle Tire Pros teacher of the week. That educator also receives a free oil change from Eagle Tire Pros. To nominate a teacher for teacher of the week honors, please send your nomination to (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 12/14/2023-6AM)