For more than 50 years our nation has honored teachers with the National Teacher of the Year Program. In 2014, the NC Department of Public Instruction announced their partnership with Burroughs Welcome Fund as the new major sponsor of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program. Since 1970, North Carolina has participated in this program recognizing outstanding teachers. Craven County Schools has participated in the Teacher of the Year Program for many years and is proud to recognize one of the many outstanding educators in the district as our 2020-2021 Teacher Ambassador. Gayle Hardy, an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Elective Teacher at New Bern High School has been selected as the 2020-2021 Teacher Ambassador for Craven County Schools. As an AVID teacher, Ms. Hardy helps students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. Ms. Hardy works with AVID student by placing a special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills. As the Craven County Schools Teacher Ambassador, Ms. Hardy she will serve as the local advisor to the Board of Education and will represent Craven County Schools in various community and civic events. Ms. Hardy now moves on to compete against other local award recipients for the Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year title. Gayle Hardy was chosen following an application and interview process with the local selection committee, comprising of the current Teacher Ambassador, the current Principal of the Year, central office staff and community leaders. Gayle Hardy has been teaching for 36 years, with 29 of those years in Craven County Schools. Ms. Hardy is committed to the success of all learners and creates learning experiences based on continuous improvement and rigorous content. In her application, Ms. Hardy stated, “I believe every student I encounter is a walking, talking miracle and they need me to keep reminding them when they don’t believe that yet, or they try to hide it from the world.” Hardy further states, “While we don’t all share the same strengths and abilities, I believe we can all surpass our own perceived limitations given the right environment and support.” While Ms. Hardy has received awards and has been the speaker at national conferences, she will be the first to tell you, “the rewards that keep me going are my relationships with my students and peers and watching them grow in leadership, empathy, and determination.”
When asked how she would communicate the importance of the teaching profession, Hardy stated, “Our goal is to reach every student.” “We strive to build their communication and relationship skills, all while relaying the beauty, strength and sacrifice we share in our diversity….our histories….our stories…our cultures.” Gayle Hardy represents what makes teachers great. Her message is one of “unity, spirit and drive, that keeps our profession alive, everchanging, and valuable.” Congratulation to Gayle Hardy, the 2020-2021 Craven County Schools’ Teacher Ambassador/ Teacher of the Year.
Being selected as the Teacher Ambassador/ Teacher of the Year is one of the highest honors the district bestows on an educator. As you are aware, the last few weeks have been difficult, but our teachers have stepped up to demonstrate their love and commitment in new ways. It is more important than even to recognize our teachers for their hard work. This year’s finalists included a talented and dedicated group of educators from across Craven County. The passion for teaching and learning was evident in both the portfolios and interviews. This year’s finalists are:
- Brianne Black
1ST Grade Teacher at Bridgeton Elementary School
- Jordan Garrett
5th Grade Teacher at AH Bangert Elementary
- Erin Lembke
Biology and Chemistry Teacher at Havelock High School
Congratulations to all finalists for what they do each day for the students and families in Craven County. The work of these teachers is transforming today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders.
Submitted by: Jennifer Wagner, Director of Public Relations, Craven County Schools