Top teacher, principal honored
BY AMELIA HARPER
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
NASHVILLE -— Elementary school educators swept the fields Tuesday night at the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools 2019-20 Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year Awards Banquet at Rose Hill in Nashville.
The theme of this year’s banquet was “transforming lives.” Before announcing the Teacher of the Year award, Shelton Jefferies, superintendent of Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools, spoke about how the beauty of nature and the reminders of the fact that this is pollen season brought to mind the work of educators.
“The work of those busy bees who help with pollination and ensure that all this beauty is possible is easy to miss. You all, as educators, have a very similar role. Tonight you have testimony from those who benefit from pollenization from past educators. The beauty and tragedy of public education is that we sometimes don’t get to see the promise of education but you know that you have a powerful, powerful influence. When you do get to see the fruits of your labor, it is beyond humbling,” Jefferies said.
The 2019-20 Teacher of the Year is Jessica Bland of Bailey Elementary School. Bland was selected from a field of three finalists for the award including Thomas Proctor of Southern Nash Middle School and Betsy Hester of Rocky Mount High School.
As Teacher of the Year, Bland will be driving a 2019 Honda CRV for a year courtesy of Davenport Auto Park.
Each of the finalists received a crystal apple representing the Ben Craig Award and $1,000 for use in their classrooms. Both of these gifts were courtesy of Wells Fargo Bank.
The three finalists for the Teacher of the Year award were selected from a field of 29 candidates, each named as the Teacher of the Year of their own respective school. Each candidate received a gift bag containing items from various sponsors and an unspecified monetary gift from Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.
The 2019 Principal of the Year Award was given to Monique Hargrove-Jones of Fairview Elementary School. Other finalists for the award included Timothy Mudd of Red Oak Middle School and Brian Hopkins of Northern Nash High School.
The honor of Assistant Principal of the Year went to Jenifer Lewis of Winstead Elementary School. Other finalists in this category were Tesha Dixon of Parker Middle School and Terry Hopkins of Southern Nash High School.
The 2019-20 First Year Teacher of the Year award was earned by Lindsey Nowell, also of Winstead Elementary School. Finalists in this category included Shanika Scott of Edwards Middle School and Cameron Avery of Northern Nash High School.
As the winner of these awards, Bland, Hargrove-Jones, Lewis and Nowell each received several awards from sponsors of the event. These awards included iPads donated by Pfizer, a jewelry item from Bailey’s Jewelers, a $50 gift card from Communities in Schools, a $50 gift card from the Farm Bureau of Nashville, $50 from Tharrington-Smith Attorneys at Law, $50 from school board member Bill Sharpe and free Zaxbys meals for one year.
Other sponsors of the event included Office Depot, All Star Sports Products, Lamar, Ribeye’s Steakhouse and the North Carolina Principals and Assistant Principals Association.
Jefferies thanked the sponsors for their role in supporting teachers.
“Thank you so much for your investing so much in the folks who invest so much in our most precious asset — our children,”Jefferies said.