In the spotlight

CMS Teacher of the Year Kimberly Tuttle will be featured in a nationwide Volkswagen commercial that highlights leaders in the classroom. Volkswagen’s corporate office became aware of her story, as well as her teacher of the year prize: a one-year lease on a Jetta.

“They came across something about me, did their research and gave me a call,” Tuttle said. “We talked about a lot of teacher stories, and there was a lot of crying.”

A crew of 40 was sent to Charlotte to film the commercial Aug. 26-28. Tuttle said they created a complete movie set at the home she shares with her husband and two daughters. Filming began at 4:30 a.m. and moved from the house, through the streets of Charlotte and to Levine Middle College High, where Tuttle teaches 11th-grade English Honors and Advanced Placement language and composition.

Tuttle said she had to be taught the proper way to hold the steering wheel for her driving scenes and that they had a police escort while on the road. At Levine, she had to teach her class in the media center instead of her classroom to accommodate all the crew and equipment.

Student Lexie Lynch said she had fun working on the commercial, but seeing new faces and cameras everywhere caught her by surprise. She said she is not outspoken around new people and had to leave her comfort zone.

“I participated in the commercial to support Mrs. Tuttle and her achievements,” Lexie said. “I am so thankful that she was my teacher and was able to help me grow so much. She was my 11th-grade English teacher, but she was really more than a teacher. She truly loves each and every student and gets to know them like they are her own.”

Tuttle said making the commercial was interesting and a great opportunity for her and her students. It is expected to air in November.

“It meant the world to me for them to take the time to value teachers in their commercial,” she said. “It makes me feel valued to know they care about the work we put in each day.”