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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: MAY 2, 2006


Diana Beasley, a biology teacher at Hickory High School, Hickory Public Schools, was named the 2006-07 North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a formal banquet held tonight in Cary. Beasley succeeds Wendy Miller from James W. Smith Elementary School, Craven County Schools.

State Superintendent June Atkinson made the presentation, saying that the academic success North Carolina public school students have experienced can be attributed in large part to the exceptional teachers leading the classrooms. "We are so fortunate to have so many dedicated and highly skilled teachers in our public school classrooms. We depend on their expertise to ensure that students are prepared for the future. Diana is a wonderful example of the caliber of professionals we have in classrooms across the state."

In accepting the award, Beasley said it was an unbelievable honor to be recognized for something that is her passion – teaching children. "I am humbled to be chosen for this award. However, the most special rewards we gain are from the young lives we are blessed to touch each day."

Thanks to the NC Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA), the state's Teacher of the Year received a new automobile – a 2006 Hyundai Elantra. Under this partnership with the Public Schools of North Carolina, the NCADA also sponsored the night's dinner, activities and awards.

Cyndie Mynatt, chairman of the NC Automobile Dealers Association, said, "Each teacher holds a special talent that allows him or her to reach students and challenge them to understand the value of learning. Teachers prepare students to be informed and responsible members of society. And because of their contribution, franchised dealers are proud to honor the very best North Carolina teachers." Mynatt said that 2006 represents the seventh consecutive year of its dealers' involvement in this worthy event to honor North Carolina's best teachers and that they are exceptionally proud of their partnership with the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Beasley has 24 years of teaching experience, 17 in her current position. Professionally she is a member of the National Science Teacher Association, the North Carolina Science Teacher Association and Alpha Delta Kappa teaching sorority. She also is on the Secondary Science Team (responsible for writing and reviewing end-of-course test questions for North Carolina Biology assessments), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' State Accreditation Team and has been involved with lateral entry teacher training and mentor teacher training for Hickory Public Schools and Lenoir-Rhyne College.

She has received several awards and recognitions including the 2006-07 Northwest Region Teacher of the Year, 2005-06 Hickory Public Schools' Teacher of the Year, and 2005-06/2004-05 Hickory High School Teacher of the Year. Beasley received her Bachelor of Science in Science Education from the University of Virginia.

The state's Teacher of the Year spends the school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. Beasley 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 years.

The other regional finalists were:

  • North Central Region: William "Bill" Ferriter, language arts/social studies teacher, Salem Middle School, Wake County Schools;
  • Northeast Region: Grady "Coleman" Bailey, Jr., science teacher, D.H. Conley High School, Pitt County Schools;
  • Southeast Region: James Strope, history teacher, Southwest High School, Onslow County Schools;
  • Southwest Region: Bradley "Luke" Hyatt, health and physical education teacher, Peachland-Polkton Elementary School, Anson County Schools;
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Debra Stuckey, language arts teacher, Lumberton Jr. High School, Public Schools of Robeson County;
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Shayne Madison, kindergarten teacher, Easton Elementary School, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; and
  • West Region: Marianne Leek, English teacher, Hayesville High School, Clay County Schools.

Each regional finalist will receive a one-time $5,000 stipend.

For additional information, please contact the NCDPI's Communications Division at 919.807.3450.

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.