Wanda Lacy (’71, ’91)

Category: Accomplished Alumni | Awards

At the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Student Awards Celebration on October 24, Wanda Lacy was presented with an Accomplished Alumna Award. A highly honored teacher for 37 years, she taught AP calculus at Farragut High School for 12 years.

Of more than 350 students who have taken her AP class in those years, over 98 percent received college credit. In the last few years the number earning college credit has been near 100 percent. “If you love learning,” Lacy says, “then you love to see other people learn.”

Her husband, Ray, an attorney with Lacy, Price & Wagner, notes that she could have retired earlier, but she loves her profession and never wanted to rise to the ranks of administration, as it would have taken her out of the classroom. “I come to school every day, I do not come to work,” she once told the Shopper News. “I love my students. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Since she was a child, Lacy had a passion for math. “I love it,” she says. “I love how things connect.” Lacy was inspired to teach because her parents didn’t have the opportunity to earn a college education. She earned her BS in education in 1971 and her MA in math in 1991—both from UT.

Her teaching philosophy centers on high expectations for every student and maximizing each student’s individual mathematic ability. Those in her classes regularly worked together in groups to investigate, analyze, and solve problems with real world applications. “She moves students past seeking only the correct answers and on to the why of learning,” said Michael Reynolds, who was the principal of Farragut High when the Tennessee Department of Education named Lacy its 2013–14 Tennessee Teacher of the Year.

In 2018 she was inducted into the UT Educators Hall of Honor and was reappointed by Governor Haslam to serve on the Tennessee Governor’s Teacher Cabinet, an 18-member advisory group selected from submissions of school superintendents across the state. She is a member of the National Education Association, Tennessee Education Association, and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She and Ray enjoy spending time with their two daughters (also UT grads) and four grandchildren, all of whom she has tutored in mathematics.