HCPS recognizes Teachers of the Year

Published 3:21 pm Saturday, September 12, 2009

For more than 50 years our nation has honored teachers with the National Teacher of the Year Program. Likewise, Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS) values its teachers and has for many years recognized and honored a district teacher of the year.

Also like the National Teacher of the Year Program, HCPS, in accordance with national guidelines, chooses a candidate who is “dedicated and highly skilled and who has proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.” Because the Teacher of the Year will be asked to represent the district, speak on behalf of education and demonstrate master teaching skills, the candidate must be poised, articulate, and energetic in order to meet the demanding responsibilities.

Prior to the close of the 2008-2009 school year, each school within the district selected a school-based Teacher of the Year. The district Teacher of the Year is chosen from this elect population. Representing schools in Hertford County this year:

Bearfield Primary – Mae Woodard Rose

Ahoskie Elementary – Enetra Eley-Williams

Riverview Elementary – Craig Dennis

CS Brown Student Development Center – Kimblyn Moore

Hertford County Middle – Amy Parks

Hertford County High – Sylvia Wells

Hertford County Public Schools is pleased to present Craig Dennis, an Art teacher at Riverview Elementary as the District Teacher of the Year.

Dennis, an 11-year veteran educator, completed 10 years of his experience in Hertford County. Dennis is passionate about art education and the opportunities for success that it can offer students who might not be successful in traditional academic settings. That all HCPS staff realize the importance of the arts and strive to capitalize on natural student talent and interest in the arts and use this to build strength in traditional academics and that all students develop a measure of love and respect for the arts and come to enjoy learning through art is Dennis’ vision.

As the District Teacher of the Year, Dennis will travel to the Penland School of Crafts. Penland is a national center for craft education dedicated to helping people live creative lives. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Penland offers one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books & paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking and letterpress, textiles, and wood. The school also sponsors artists’ residencies, community education programs, and a craft gallery.

Each year approximately 1200 people come to Penland for instruction and another 14,000 pass through as visitors. Students come from all walks of life. They range from 19 to 90 years of age and from absolute beginners to professional craftspeople. Penland School began out of a strong belief in a few simple values.

Penland’s founder, Lucy Morgan summarized these as “the joy of creative occupation and a certain togetherness-working with one another in creating the good and the beautiful.” For more than seventy-five years, these principles have guided a remarkable institution which has had a pervasive influence on American craft and touched the lives of thousands of individuals.Mr. Dennis will enjoy a one-week residency.

Dennis’s travel and professional learning at the Penland School of Crafts has been made possible by the generous support of a long-standing professional partnership with NUCOR Corporation. NUCOR is one of the largest steel producers in the United States, and the largest of the “mini-mill” operators (those using electric arc furnaces to melt scrap steel, as opposed to companies using traditional blast furnace technology). Understanding that high student achievement, while resting primarily in the hands of teachers and school administrators, is also a responsibility of the community, NUCOR commits to supporting teacher professional growth and development.

The goals of the HCPS Teacher of the Year Program are:

To recognize and honor teachers who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in teaching;

To model best practices in teaching;

To communicate and impact educational issues and policies;

To build effective partnerships; and

To advance a communication network among teachers within the local district.