Award-winning school employees recognized at Board of Education meeting

Christina Day

February 10, 2014

The Ashe County Board of Education held a reception Tuesday prior to its February meeting honoring the winners and nominees of the 2013-2014 teacher awards, announced in May 2013.

Dr. Todd Holden, superintendent of the Ashe County Public Schools presented Mountain View Elementary principal David Blackburn with the award for principal of the year.

“It is my great honor to present this award to Mr. Blackburn, whose outstanding leadership efforts have made difference in our school system,” Holden said.

Board member Polly Jones recognized teacher of the year nominees Jennifer Phipps, CTE/workforce development teacher at Ashe County High School, Stephanie Stolt, social studies teacher at Ashe County Middle School, Allison Shoemake, fourth grade teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary School and Jana Baldwin, kindergarten teacher at Mountain View Elementary School.

“All five of our buildings’ Teacher of Year [nominees] are wonderful educators,” said Lesia Nave, director of human resources for Ashe County Schools. “It is always a challenge for the selection committee to name one among such an impressive group.”

Teacher of the year, Dr. Mandy Taylor has since left her position at Westwood Elementary School to take a job as a professional development consultant with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

The board also recognized the nominees for teacher assistant of the year.

“Having started working in elementary schools, I know how important it is to have teacher assistants,” Terry Williams of the Board of Education said.

Support staff members Linda Sloan of Ashe County High School, Sarah Houck exceptional children assistant at Ashe County Middle School and Linda Campbell of Blue Ridge Elementary School were honored.

The Teacher Assistant of the Year was Sandy Simms, kindergarten teacher assistant at Mountain View Elementary School.

C.B. Jones, vice chair of the board, presented an award to Chelsea Clanton, second grade teacher at Mountain View Elementary School, who achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

“Ashe County Board of Education in proud that Ms. Clanton is among a select group of excellent teachers nationwide who have achieved National Board Certification,” the board said in a press release.

In order to gain National Board Certification, teachers must “complete a rigorous review of their skills and work” as part of the “multi-year process of standards-based performance and assessment and peer review.”

Autumn Taylor, School Psychologist at Westwood, was honored as Teacher of Excellence for Exceptional Children.

Taylor, who has been a school psychologist in Ashe since 2000, was recognized in November at the 63rd Annual Conference for Exceptional Children in Greensboro.

A Recognition of Excellence award was given to members of the finance department Geneva Spencer, Kevin Anderson, Donna Phillips and Amanda Coldiron. Phyllis Yates, assistant superintendent of finance and operations, who was also honored, said the finance department was “the greatest staff you could ask for.”

“During this time of focus on public education and the achievement of students, Ashe County Schools believe that their employees work hard and make a difference in the lives of children daily,” a press release from the school system said.

Christina Day can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @CDayinWJ