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WOODLEAF ELEMENTARY'S CASSIE THOMPSON IS TEACHER OF THE YEAR

Cassie Thompson, a fourth-year teacher at Woodleaf Elementary School, is Rowan-Salisbury’s 2014-15 Teacher of the Year.

“She’s just so well rounded,” said Thompson’s principal, Sue Herrington, adding that Thompson is skilled in collaborating, classroom teaching and advocating for her first-grade students. “She really is fearless. She has a big heart,” Herrington said.

“I was surprised and honored,” Thompson said. Before she became a teacher, Thompson was a television reporter and anchor. But when she landed her dream job in Raleigh, she said she remembers feeling “very unsettled.” Thompson began volunteering with kids in a homeless shelter, and that quickly became her favorite part of each week.

“I felt God was calling me to go into education,” she explained. So, Thompson went back to school to get her teacher’s license, and has been working at Woodleaf ever since. “I learn as much from the children as they do from me,” she said, adding that providing a loving, caring environment is an “awesome responsibility.”

Bostian Elementary second-grade math and writing teacher Amy Monday was the runner-up. Monday has for taught 13 years at the school. “I just love teaching. I love to see them learn,” Monday said.

Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said, “It’s important to recognize people who are excellent in their field,” and added, “When your colleagues recognize you, that’s the highest level of recognition.”

“These teachers will be models for other teachers to follow over the next school year. “It’s a growth experience in itself,” Moody said.

At each school, teachers vote amongst themselves to select the teacher of the year. Selected teachers submit portfolios, and six finalists are chosen by a panel of judges from Livingstone College, Catawba College, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and a member from the school board. From those finalists, one winner and one runner-up are selected. All the teachers of the year were honored at a breakfast held at the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce Power in Partnership breakfast at Trinity Oaks in Salisbury.

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