DOBSON — Surry County Schools honored several of its educators this month for excelling in their fields.
The December meeting of the county Board of Education was held at Rockford Elementary School to accommodate all the people expected to attend.
The evening began with a special performance for Dr. Travis Reeves, school superintendent.
Back in May, Reeves was named the Region Five Superintendent of the Year by his peers and colleagues of the Piedmont Triad Education Consortium.
The Piedmont Triad Education Consortium is a collaboration of 16 K-12 public school districts and 17 higher education institutions in Central North Carolina. This honor recognized Dr. Reeves as one of the top eight superintendents statewide and placed him in the running for the N.C. Superintendent of the Year.
The eight regional winners were asked to submit a comprehensive portfolio that could include two videos.
After the committee reviewed the portfolio and videos, Reeves was one of three finalists selected for an interview before the state prize ultimately went to another superintendent.
In November, the Reeves family traveled to Greensboro where the finalists were honored.
Sonia Dickerson, director of communications, teacher quality and instructional media, used some adjectives to describe the superintendent’s educational approach to the audience: “innovative, creative and forward-thinking” as well as “student-centered and focused on the whole child.” She added, “Dr. Reeves has fostered a culture of high expectations for all students to grow academically, physically, socially and emotionally.”
“Under his leadership, the district has moved the needle in regards to overall academic achievement and graduation rate,” Dickerson said. “We are all proud that he has lead our district to rank 13th of 115 school systems in the state in Overall Academic Performance. And we are all excited that our graduation rate is at an all-time high.”
Dickerson then introduced a mixed chorus of students from all four middle school schools in the district, under the direction of chorus instructors Andy Atkins, Chris Lawson and Angie Smith. The chorus performed the song “Draw the Circle Wide.”
• The Board of Education honored an exceptional children teacher for earning recognition at a division conference in Greensboro last month.
Christi Smith has worked in the field for three years, Dickerson told the board.
”She constantly sets the bar high for their learning and knows they can strive to greatness with the right instruction and compassion,” she said. “She collaborates with her teaching assistants to make sure each student gets the personalized learning needed. She also works diligently with classroom teachers to ensure that her students get what is needed in the regular education setting.
“Mrs. Smith builds long-lasting relationships with children and their families. She allows herself to be transparent and provides parents with constant communication about their child’s learning progress.”
Smith also works hard as the social committee chairperson and outside the school in promoting different organizations within the county, said Dickerson. Smith has helped with the Autism Society of Surry County and their annual walk each spring. She also helped a local family set up a 5K walk/run to raise money for ALS.
Smith received recognition at the Exceptional Children Division’s 67th Conference held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.
• A fourth-grade teacher for Rockford Elementary has been honored for math excellence.
The N.C. Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction strive to recognize and reward elementary school teachers who exemplify math-teaching excellence by nurturing students’ enthusiasm through everyday classroom experiences, said Dickerson. This recognition is for those teachers who succeed in motivating students to excel.
Ashley Queen was one of Rockford’s math trainers starting in the 2015-16 school year where she was instrumental in transforming math instruction, Dickerson said. She led the school in increasing math scores by 14 points in year-to-year results. In addition, she has exceeded growth in her own classroom for the past two years.
She fulfills several leadership roles at Rockford. She is the grade level chair for fourth grade and spelling bee chair.
“She is constantly reflecting on her practice, so she can continually make improvements in her classroom,” said Rockford Principal Molly Anderson. “She is an asset to Rockford Elementary.”
• Two employees who serve as innovation facilitators were recognized by the school board after being selected to take part in a state leadership program.
Stephanie Bode, Dobson Elementary, and Kristi Edwards, White Plains Elementary, were selected to participate in this year’s N.C. Digital Leadership Coaching Network cohort.
Dickerson said this program, facilitated by the Friday Institute at N.C. State, provides educators like Bode and Edwards “job-embedded professional learning opportunities to build capacity in digital and personalized learning and acquire strategies and knowledge related to best practices in leadership, coaching and support of educators, students and administrators.”
She said the two are learning from leaders from across the state and nation through face-to-face and online professional development, gaining skills that are helping them grow as leaders in digital learning while sharing what they learn with their colleagues in Surry County Schools.
• Dr. Reeves announced the December employee of the month as Mel Alexander, a physical education teacher at White Plains.
Reeves read a letter from an unnamed parent who nominated Alexander for the award:
“Having a child with physical disabilities is hard when it comes to things like P.E. Sam has always struggled in the past on P.E. days.
“This year P.E. is her favorite, special class.
From the moment we took a tour of WPE, Mr. Alexander has made it a point to make sure Sam’s needs were met physically and socially. From running with her in the wheelchair, to pushing her to do laps herself before getting a choice activity, Mr. Alexander has made P.E. a great place for Sam. I can’t thank him enough for his love of all kids and his desire to help all kids get physically fit. “
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.