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NEWS RELEASES 2007-08 :: APRIL 29, 2008


Cindi Rigsbee, a sixth/seventh grades reading resource teacher at Gravelly Hill Middle School, Orange County Public Schools, was named the 2008-09 AT&T North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a formal banquet held tonight in Raleigh. Rigsbee succeeds James Bell from Chowan Middle School, Edenton-Chowan Public Schools.

In making the presentation, State Superintendent June Atkinson said, "Ms. Rigsbee is a wonderful example of how education can make a difference in a person's life. I am delighted that she is North Carolina's Teacher of the Year. Ms. Rigsbee is a classroom leader, and she also is an educational leader who makes a difference with everyone in her school."

In accepting the award, Rigsbee said her selection as North Carolina's Teacher of the Year was all about chances. "My father, who quit school in the seventh grade to work, didn't have the chance to go to high school. My mother, who graduated second in her class at age 15, didn't have the chance to go to college. But both my parents, who didn't have educational opportunities, worked hard to give me the chance to get an education. That is the reason why I've had the pleasure of teaching over a thousand North Carolina children in my career, " Rigsbee said. "I'm so excited that this little girl who grew up across the street from the Bluefield Housing Project has been given this amazing opportunity. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this chance."

AT&T officials joined state educational leaders in announcing the 2008-09 North Carolina Teacher of the Year. This is the first year AT&T has sponsored the state's recognition program, the most prestigious honor for North Carolina teachers.

Cynthia Marshall, president of AT&T North Carolina, said, "Outstanding teachers, who truly care about their students and understand how to use a variety of tools and technologies, fan the flame of learning and academic achievement. We are proud to be the title sponsor of the AT&T North Carolina Teacher of the Year Award and to encourage those educators who are literally changing young lives every day across this state."

Rigsbee has been a North Carolina public school teacher since the 1979-80 school year and has taught in five different North Carolina public school systems: Guilford County Schools, Vance County Schools, Wake County Schools, Durham Public Schools and Orange County Schools. Professionally, she is a member of the National Education Association, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), the Orange County Association of Educators, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the International Reading Association, and the North Carolina Reading Association.

She has presented or spoken at numerous workshops, conferences and other events, including literacy workshops for elective teachers, new teacher orientation, the Orange County Schools' convocation, and at an NCAE National Board Candidate Support workshop. Rigsbee has received a number of awards and other types of recognition, including Orange County Schools' Teacher of the Year 2007-08, Gravelly Hill Middle School Teacher of the Year 2007-08, and a 2005 finalist for the Terry Sanford Award for Creativity and Innovation in Teaching.

Rigsbee completed her undergraduate studies at North Carolina State University, and received a Bachelor of Arts in English Education and a Master of Education/K-12 Literacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2004, she achieved National Board Certification.

The AT&T North Carolina Teacher of the Year will spend the school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. In addition, Rigsbee will receive a personal automobile, an engraved plaque, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year conference, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment at the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at over $14,000 from the SmarterKids Foundation. She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years.

The other regional finalists are:

North Central Paige Elliott Fuquay-Varina High Wake County Schools
Northeast Sonya Rinehart John A. Holmes High Edenton-Chowan Public Schools
Northwest Janice Raper Hurley Elementary Rowan-Salisbury Schools
Southeast Ruth Ann Parker Clinton High Clinton City Schools
Southwest Bernard Waugh Kannapolis Intermediate Kannapolis City Schools
Sandhills/South Central Trisha Muse Page Street Elementary Montgomery County Schools
West Renee Peoples West Elementary Swain County Schools
Charter Schools Freida Baker East Wake Academy Wake County

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.