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NEWS RELEASES 2003-04 :: MAY 4, 2004


Lizbeth Alfaro, a K-6 English as a Second Language teacher at Lyle Creek Elementary School, Catawba County Schools, was named the 2004-05 North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a formal banquet held tonight in Cary. She succeeds Allison Ormond, a seventh-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher at Rockingham County Middle School, Rockingham County Schools.

Deputy State Superintendent Janice Davis made the presentation, saying that North Carolina is fortunate to have so many dedicated and highly skilled teachers in its classrooms. "Teachers are at the heart of our schools and at the heart of the very best efforts that our society provides for its children. Lizbeth is a wonderful example of why our students are doing so well and why our future looks so bright."

In accepting the award, Alfaro said she would like to be a merchant of hope everywhere she went. "I want to inspire teachers to believe in their students and our students to believe in education. I know that education is the greatest treasure we can give our youth, so I want to motivate children to stay in school, to learn all they can learn, to graduate, and to become somebody."

Thanks to the NC Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA), the state's Teacher of the Year once again received one of the ultimate rewards for a job well done - a 2004 MAZDA3. Under this partnership with the Public Schools of North Carolina, the NCADA also sponsored the night's dinner, activities and awards.

Dale Stearns, chairman of the NC Automobile Dealers Association, said North Carolina's franchised automobile and truck dealers are very proud to be a part of this excellent business and education partnership, and equally proud of the superb work teachers put forth in educating North Carolina's children in the classroom. "Second only to parents, teachers truly hold the future of our state's children in their hands," Stearns said.

Alfaro has 14 years of teaching experience, one in her current position. Professionally she is a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators, the Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages and the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals.

She has received several awards and recognitions including the 2003-04 Northwest Region Teacher of the Year, Catawba County Schools' 2003-04 Teacher of the Year, and Lyle Creek Elementary School's 2003-04 Teacher of the Year.

She received a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Costa Rica, a master's degree in education from Lesley University, and ESL Licensure from North Carolina State University. She also achieved National Board Certification in 2003. In addition, Alfaro is a trainer with Teacher Academy in the new module "Meeting the Needs of the English Language Learner," and she co-authored the new module, "Raising Elementary ELL Student Achievement in Literacy Across the Curriculum," for the 2004 Teacher Academy. She also presented at the first ESL symposium with North Carolina State University in May 2002 on the topic of the culture and language of Latinos and conducted a workshop on ESL strategies at the World View Seminar in March 2003.

The state's Teacher of the Year spends the school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She also receives a one-time $7,500 stipend, a technology package from SMARTer Kids Foundation, a trip to the International Space Camp, an international trip through the NC Center for International Understanding, and a trip to the National Teacher of the Year conference. In addition, the state Teacher of the Year serves as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two terms.

The other regional finalists were: North Central Region - Johnny Gatlin, science teacher, Middle Creek High School, Wake County Schools; Northeast Region - Allen Guidry, social studies teacher, J.H. Rose High School, Pitt County Schools; Southeast Region - Donna Kay Thompson, 5th grade communication skills & social studies teacher, Waccamaw Elementary, Brunswick County Schools; Southwest Region - Betty Clagg, social studies teacher, Highland School of Technology, Gaston County Schools; Sandhills/South Central Region - Kem Dudney, Middle Grades physical education/health teacher, Hallsboro Middle School, Columbus County Schools; Piedmont-Triad/Central Region - Tommie Evans, 8th grade science teacher, Northern Middle School, Person County Schools; and West Region - Peter Bobbe, English teacher, Mountain Heritage High School, Yancey County Schools. Each regional finalist will receive a one-time $5,000 stipend.

For additional information, please contact Dan Holloman, Center for Recruitment and Retention, DPI, 919.807.3375.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.