— story and photos courtesy of Vance County Public Schools
Vance County Schools presented its top education awards to individuals during the school system’s “Excellence in Education” banquet held on September 6, at McGregor Hall in downtown Henderson.
Kedecia Stewart, a fourth and fifth-grade math teacher at Pinkston Street Elementary School, was presented the award as the school system’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year. Stewart was selected from an outstanding field of 16 teachers for the district award. Stewart is a native of Jamaica and has been teaching at Pinkston Street since August of 2013. She joined the Pinkston Street staff as a participant in the Visiting International Faculty (VIF) program and had taught in Jamaica since 2005.
Dave Genetti, owner of Toyota of Henderson, presented a 2018 Toyota Camry to Stewart for her use during the next year as our Teacher of the Year.
Kristen Boyd, principal of Aycock Elementary School, was named the Vance County Schools’ 2017-2018 Principal of the Year. She received the award after leading Aycock Elementary School to another successful year in 2016-2017. Aycock Elementary has the highest overall achievement score for all local elementary schools for N.C. end-of-grade testing with an almost 80 percent proficiency rate. Boyd is now in her fourth year as the principal of Aycock Elementary. She was the school’s assistant principal for seven years prior to becoming principal and was a teacher at Aycock from 2001-2007. She has been nominated for the Principal of the Year award several times.
The 2017-2018 Assistant Principal of the Year award was presented to Dr. Jacqueline Batchelor-Crosson, who serves as the assistant principal at both L.B. Yancey and Pinkston Street elementary schools. Batchelor-Crosson was a finalist for the award for the 2016-2017 school year. L.B. Yancey Elementary showed the highest growth in student performance for last school year among local elementary schools and Pinkston Street has the third highest proficiency rating for its students in the district based on state standards. Batchelor-Crosson has been an assistant principal and testing coordinator with the school system, mostly at Pinkston Street Elementary, since July 2014. She also has served as the assistant principal at New Hope Elementary School. Prior to becoming a school administrator, she was a teacher at Pinkston Street Elementary for eight years.
For the first time, the school system named a Beginning Teacher of the Year. Estelle Mangum, a fourth-grade teacher at L.B. Yancey Elementary School, was selected as the award recipient. Mangum had a solid year in 2016-2017 in leading her students to academic achievements.
An audience of almost 200 people, including teachers, school administrators, local school officials, city and county leaders and community representatives, attended the event and enjoyed a nice meal during the banquet held in McGregor Gallery at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center.
Darlynn Oxendine, vice chairperson of the Vance County Board of Education, and Dr. Anthony Jackson, superintendent of Vance County Schools, presented the awards to the honoreers. They were joined in the presentations by Dr. Cindy Bennett, assistant superintendent, and Joy Suther, 2016-2017 Assistant Principal of the Year and the assistant principal of Dabney Elementary School. Crystal Richardson, 2016-2017 Principal of the Year and the principal of Clarke Elementary School, was unable to attend the event.
Joining Stewart in receiving recognition as Teachers of the Year for their respective schools were Kelly Smith of Aycock Elementary School; Fe McCoy of Carver Elementary School; Cynthia Arthur of Clarke Elementary School; Justin Wrenn of Dabney Elementary School; Tina Terry of New Hope Elementary School; Faye Crawford of E.M. Rollins Elementary School; Kevon Grant of L.B. Yancey Elementary School; Julia Morton of E.O. Young Jr. Elementary School; Alfreda Murphy of Zeb Vance Elementary School; Katrina Tunstall of Eaton-Johnson Middle School; Rosalia Cervantes of Henderson Middle School; Mary Soriano of STEM Early High School; Joannie Aldridge of Northern Vance High School; Brandelyn Breinig of Southern Vance High School; and Ana-Maria Topliceanu of Vance County Early College High School.
Additional Principal of the Year nominees were Dr. Carnetta Thomas of L.B. Yancey Elementary School; Kristian Herring of Zeb Vance Elementary School; and Rey Horner of Southern Vance High School.
For the Assistant Principal of the Year award, Angela Pugh of Henderson Middle School, also was nominated.
Along with Mangum as nominees for the Beginning Teacher of the Year award were Regina Durham of Dabney Elementary School; Rachel Bradshaw of New Hope Elementary School; Conetta Terry of Pinkston Street Elementary School; Sikera Alston of E.M. Rollins Elementary School; Julia Hicks of Zeb Vance Elementary School; Anthony Davis of Eaton-Johnson Middle School; Trevor Kirby of Henderson Middle School; and Peter Hasselburg of Southern Vance High School.
A special selection panel of local school administrators chose the award winners after nominees made PowerPoint presentations and answered questions, with the exception of the Beginning Teacher of the Year nominees who submitted essays.