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‘Coach Fred’ earns top honor

Justin Frederes is awarded the Hertford County Public Schools 2011-12 Teacher of the Year award from Shelia Porter, Vice Chair of the county’s Board of Education. In the background is Carol Swain, HCPS’ reigning Teacher of the Year for 2010-11. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

AHOSKIE –  Judging by the high-pitched shrills and loud applause, it was extremely evident that the winner of the 2011-12 Teacher of the Year within Hertford County Public Schools (HCPS) was a popular choice.

Justin Frederes, a Social Studies teacher and varsity girls’ basketball coach at Hertford County High School, earned that honor, as announced during last week’s annual Convocation conducted by HCPS.

“Wow, what an honor,” remarked Frederes after being bestowed the high honor as presented by Hertford County Board of Education Vice Chair Shelia Porter. “Being your Teacher of the Year is an extraordinary honor. This is truly a monumental moment in my life.”

Even though he was ranked at the top of the HCPS list for excellence in teaching, Frederes was very complimentary of the quality of leadership found within the walls of the local schools.

“I truly believe we have some of the brightest teachers, coaches, administrators and support staff, not just in the state of North Carolina, but in the United States of America,” he said.

“However, there is one group missing that I wish were here today and that’s the best students in the world here at Hertford County High School,” Frederes continued. “I have never encountered more respectful and caring students than you’ll find right here. Without the hard work, dedication and passion of our students, none of the academic, athletic and character based successes of the past year would not have been possible.”

Frederes summed up his feelings about education in one word – passion.

“The passion to learn; the passion to teach and go beyond what our contracts list as professional responsibilities; the passion to do anything necessary to provide our students with the best education possible, that’s what I and others bring to work each and every day,” he stressed. “It’s our job to demonstrate to our students that knowledge is power. We all, no matter our situation in life, can accomplish anything with hard work.”

Frederes said he could feel the family type attitude among his teaching and administrative peers in Hertford County.

“I’ve seen all our schools grow and consistently improve over the years and I implore everyone to continue to set high goals for themselves and their students,” he noted. “Please continue to bring that love and dedication to our schools each and every day. That builds self-esteem and a desire to achieve.”

He closed by sharing a quote from Longfellow that he begins each school year with a new class.

“What is a man or a woman that does not make the world around them a better place,” he stated. “The answer from my students is always the same….if you are not making it better, then you must be making it worse. Thank you Hertford County Public School employees for consistently making the world around you a better place.”

Carol Swain, HCPS’ reigning Teacher of the Year for 2010-11, helped to recognize the district’s candidates for 2011-12 from each school. Other than Frederes, they were as follows:

Genia Canada, Ahoskie Elementary School;

Tammy Askew, Bearfield Primary School;

Kathy Overton-Vinson, Riverview Elementary School;

Kenneth Mabine, Hertford County Middle School;

Alecia Gatling , Hertford County High School Early College; and

Rosalie Tambal Mercader, C. S. Brown High School.

As part of the national Teacher of the Year program, HCPS selects one teacher to represent the local district. The winner is praised for his or her desire to inspire students to learn as well as for earning the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues and plays an active role in the community.

The Hertford County Teacher of the Year will receive over $2,000, which includes $1,500 from Nucor Steel, one of HCPS’ corporate sponsors, and will attend the National Conference.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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