An elementary school teacher who says she’s paid in laughs and smiles from her students and banks on strong personal relationships to inspire learning is the new Lenoir County Teacher of the Year.
The selection of Alicia Stanley of Northwest Elementary School as LCPS’s top teacher for 2016 was announced Wednesday night to a crowd of about 200 people at the annual Teacher of the Year banquet at the Lenoir County Shrine Club.
“Teaching is how I make an impact. Teaching is my ministry,” the six-year veteran of the classroom told the audience in one of the short speeches made by each of the three finalists for the honor.
“Each day students are greeted with a hug, smile, laugh and word of encouragement when they enter my room,” she said. “I make this encounter purposeful and personal because I understand the impact I have on my students. Understanding that no significant learning comes without a significant relationship, I have been able to move mountains.”
The evening also featured speeches by finalists Nader Odeh, a social studies teacher at Kinston High School, and David Roach, a social studies teacher at Woodington Middle School.
The finalists were chosen from Teacher of the Year honorees from each LCPS school and the winner selected by a panel of judges led by 2015 Teacher of the Year Amy White of Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School, who hosted the Wednesday night event.
The five judges based their decision on personal interviews, on a review of portfolios that included a professional biography, account of community involvement and an essay on the candidate’s philosophy of teaching, and on a classroom visit.
Before announcing the winner, LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams read an endorsement from Stanley’s nomination materials that described her as having “a true passion for teaching that translates into enthusiasm and keeps the students motivated.”
In her speech, Stanley said, “I learned quickly that I had to give the students my best before they could give me their best.”
Stanley has taught second, third and fourth grades during her time at Northeast and Northwest elementary schools. She taught third grade when Northwest named her its Teacher of the Year, but this year moved to fourth grade.
After completing public school in Lenoir County, she earned her bachelor of science degree in elementary education from East Carolina University. She also holds an AIG licensure from UNC-Wilmington.
As a clinical teacher with ECU, she helps develop teacher interns and worked over the summer to help write LCPS curriculum guides for elementary teachers. She was selected to be a presenter at the 2013 Learning Forward National Education Conference in Minneapolis, Minn.
Stanley will represent Lenoir County in the regional Teacher of the Year competition. Regional winners will be announced by January and, from them, a state winner will be chosen by May.
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