By Charlotte Underwood
PIONEER, TN (WLAF) – Teachers make a difference in their students lives each and every day. For many students, having a teacher, counselor or principal who cares and goes that extra mile can be the difference in a successful education and graduation. We’ve all had that educator who has 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 educator is Dana Early. She currently teaches Kindergarten at Elk Valley STEM School.

Early grew up in Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School. She then earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from ETSU.

Dana Early is Eagle Tire Pros educator of the week.

“I later pursued a Master’s degree in the same field so I could help inspire and teach the next generation of Early Childhood Educators,” Early said. 

She has taught as an adjunct with Roane State Community College and would love to do so more in the future. 

“As for now, I love teaching kindergarten at Elk Valley STEM School. This is the best grade to teach because they love school and want to learn everything. Their excitement is contagious,” Early said. 

She lives in Rocky Top with her husband and two kids. She said her roots are in Campbell County as her parents grew up here. 

“I spent every weekend and summer days visiting grandparents and playing with cousins in these beautiful mountains,” Early said.

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

According to Early, she always wanted to be a teacher and would play school as a little girl.  “I would line up my stuffed animals and teach my heart out,” Early said. 

When she was in school, Early said she loved her teachers and learning new things, but her third grade teacher really “sticks out” in her “mind and heart.”

“She used to read to us every day after lunch just for fun! We read many chapter books and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I will forever be grateful to her for instilling a love for reading in me,” Early said. 

Her favorite part of her job is “seeing little faces light up when they learn something new.”

“The best is when they learn to read! I too want to instill a love for reading in my students. Kindergarten is the best because they are so excited to learn and are uninhibited in their excitement,” Early said.

According to Early, her main goal is to make sure her students know they are safe and loved.

“This sets a prime environment for them to learn and build a solid foundation for a successful life.”

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 – 03/10/2022-6AM)