Moore Schools honor teacher, principal of the year
By John Lentz
Two outstanding school system employees were honored last week for their service to the schools and to the community.
West Pine Elementary School second-grade teacher Stephanie Monroe was named the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year, and Crain's Creek Middle School Principal Rose Cooper was named the 2012-2013 Principal of the Year.
They were recognized at an April 26 ceremony at the Member's Club of the Pinehurst Resort, with more than 100 people attending.
Tracy Metcalf, the 2011-2012 Moore County Teacher of the Year, provided the opening remarks. She was followed by school board vice chairwoman Enola Lineberger, who thanked the teachers for their service to the students of Moore County.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher," Monroe said. "While growing up, I had some wonderful teachers who were role models for me. As the school years passed by, I was able to see how my teachers were making a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of the other students. I wanted to be that type of person that could make a difference in others' lives, too."
Monroe has 10 years' experience as a classroom teacher, serving her first eight at West End Elementary and then moving to West Pine Elementary when the new school opened in 2010. After graduating from St. Andrews Presbyterian College in 2002, Monroe earned her master's degree in elementary education from UNC Pembroke in 2007.
"I want my students to know that I care about them not only in the classroom but also outside of the classroom," she said. "I enjoy participating in activities such as attending their ball games, dance recitals, birthday parties or other special occasions. I praise them for their accomplishments and help them through their struggles. Every day when I leave school, I want to know that I have made a difference in a child's life."
In addition to her work in the classroom, Monroe is active in a variety of educational committees. She is a member of the regional team for language arts total instructional alignment and is the Moore County representative for a state initiative for English-language arts total instructional alignment.
Monroe is a second-grade Common Core presenter for Moore County, a class trainer for West Pine Elementary, and is also a K-2 representative for the school's academically and intellectually gifted program.
Other responsibilities include being a Teacher Advisory Council representative for West Pine Elementary, a member of the Reading Textbook Committee, a Reading Counts representative for the second grade, and a Relay for Life captain for West Pine Elementary. Monroe is a current member of the N.C. Association of Educators and the Moore County Reading Association.
Cooper is a 1987 graduate of Meredith College, with a degree in history. She received a master's degree in school administration from UNC Pembroke in 2004.
From 1987 to 2002, she taught at West End Elementary and West Pine Middle and served as a lead teacher for the district. After six years as an assistant principal at Robbins Elementary, she took a middle school principal position in Harnett County, but soon returned to Moore County as principal of Carthage Elementary. She was later asked to open the new Crain's Creek Middle School in 2010, where she has remained for the past two years.
"I work with a great group of principals, and to be nominated by them, let alone winning, was a humbling experience," Cooper said. "It means so much to be nominated by your peers."
Cooper said she "wouldn't want to be anywhere else" other than at Crain's Creek Middle School.
"I love the staff and the students, and it is very exciting to establish the culture and vision of this awesome new school with a great group of people. It is an amazing adventure, the best educational experience I've ever had, and while I have worked in some great schools there is nowhere else I would rather be."
Superintendent Aaron Spence said the role of a principal can be "envisioned in a variety of ways."
"It depends on your perspective," he said. "For example, the teacher will see their principal from a different vantage point than a parent. Students obviously see the principal from a totally unique perspective. For me, I see principals from a perspective different from any of these.
"Having been a principal and working with 23 of them over the past several months, I understand the challenges they face, as well as the talent, leadership and vision they bring to the table.
"It is not an enviable position, particularly in difficult times. However, our principals are all exceptional individuals. Our schools are top-notch because we have great teachers, excellent support staff and wonderful administrators, and at the end of the line is the principal. The principal sets the tone for the school, provides the guidance and leadership, and ensures that our students are receiving the best education possible."
The selection of the Principal of the Year is made by the school district's 23 principals. Cooper will now go on to compete against principals from 11 other counties for regional Principal of the Year. A state Principal of the Year will then be chosen from the eight regional Principals of the Year chosen statewide.
Marsha Harms, a physical education teacher at Pinehurst Elementary, was named Alternate Teacher of the Year.
"I develop and encourage (the students') personal activity choices," she said. "Not every child likes sports, so I find out what activities interest them and strengthen those. They are then more likely to stay active."
Harms said that she feels it is her job to teach and promote character skills such as respect, cooperation, sportsmanship and honesty, and said she "believes strongly" that physical activity is a stimulus to learning in all subject areas.
"I integrate other subject areas into my lesson planning (and) I also encourage classroom teachers to incorporate physical activity breaks into their students' daily routine," she said.
The Alternate Teacher of the Year will serve in a back-up capacity in the event the Teacher of the Year is unable to serve.
Spence called great teaching "a magical act."
"It is the art of teaching that makes a difference," he said. "It's what draws the line between really good teachers and really great teachers. I feel very blessed to be in Moore County, because in the short time I've been here, I've seen some really magical and artistic teachers. We're in a room full of them tonight."
Other individual school Teachers of the Year recognized at last week's event were:
n Angela Jones, fourth-grade teacher at Aberdeen Elementary;
n Meryl Davidson, first-grade teacher at Aberdeen Primary;
n Jane Etheridge, reading recovery teacher at Cameron Elementary;
n Lance Barber, physical education teacher at Carthage Elementary;
n Corinne Walls, career exploration teacher at Crain's Creek Middle;
n Domini Bell, eighth-grade social studies teacher at Elise Middle;
n Jenny Comer, fifth grade teacher at Highfalls Elementary;
n Jeni Wiley, seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher at New Century Middle;
n Karen Smith, exceptional children and occupational teacher at North Moore High;
n Paul Rizzo, social studies teacher at Pinckney Academy;
n Kate Faw, social studies teacher at Pinecrest High;
n Tiffanie Garner, fifth-grade teacher at Robbins Elementary;
n Elizabeth Perry, first-grade teacher at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary;
n Beth Hurley, seventh-grade social studies teacher at Southern Middle;
n Kathleen Souza, fifth-grade teacher at Southern Pines Elementary;
n Savannah Rhodes, kindergarten teacher at Southern Pines Primary;
n Rob Hill, music/band teacher at Union Pines High;
n Elizabeth Yancey, third/fourth-grade teacher at Vass-Lakeview Elementary;
n Lisa Gorenflo, fourth-grade teacher at West End Elementary;
n Tamara Lee, sixth-grade social studies teacher at West Pine Middle; and
n Carey Nesbitt, second-grade teacher at West Moore Elementary.
Information for this story was provided by Tim Lusssier, advise-r for community relations for the Moore County Schools.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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