HAMLET — Teachers and administrators received words of admiration and encouragement from education board members at the school district’s 2016 convocation at the Cole Auditorium Thursday.
Wiley Mabe, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Education, opened the ceremony by introducing the special guests — state Sen. Tom McInnis, and Reps. Ken Goodman and Garland Pierce — before expressing his appreciation for all of the teachers and handing over the mic to Dr. Jeff Maples, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
“We have discussed the importance of our students coming to school every day,” Maples said. “But it is equally important that all of us come to school every day. After all, our students are counting on us.”
Maples extolled the virtue of a teacher who had a car accident Sunday and impressed Superintendent Cindy Goodman so much that she Tweeted, “Heather Vogel is my new hero! Totaled car 4:00, released from hospital 9:00, at work 8:00!”
“Jeff Tyler, diagnosed with cancer,” Maples went on. “After radiation and six chemo treatments on Fridays — back to work on Mondays, against the doctor’s recommendation.”
Afterward, the names of all teachers with perfect attendance last school year were called, and those teachers stood up and were applauded. Teachers with 25 or more years of service were also named and celebrated.
School board members in attendance were acknowledged before guest speaker Abbey Futrell of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation delivered a presentation that had the auditorium erupting in laughter and applause.
Executive Director of Human Resources Julian Carter announced the Assistant Principal of the Year, William Kelly of Ashley Chapel Educational Center, and Principal of the Year, Willette Surgeon of West Rockingham Elementary School.
Teachers of the Year from each of the 16 schools in the district were named: David Travis of Ashley Chapel Educational Center, Tammy Johnson of Cordova School, Amy Williams of East Rockingham Elementary School, Allen Adeimy of Ellerbe Middle School, Erica Johnson of Fairview Heights Elementary School, Lakresha Sibley of Hamlet Middle School, Kari Ross of L.J. Bell Elementary School, Karen Arnold of Mineral Springs Elementary School, Sharyl Gross of Monroe Avenue Elementary School, Vanecia Johnson of Richmond Early College, Ly-Bel Ziccarelli of Richmond County 9th Grade Academy, Matthew Learn of Richmond Senior High School, Blair Fetner of Rockingham Middle School, Barbie Wall of Rohanen Middle School, Patricia McGee of Washington Street Elementary School and Sharon Guttery of West Rockingham Elementary School.
The 2016-2017 Teacher of the Year is Lakresha Sibley, who will drive a new car sponsored by Griffin Nissan and presented by General Manager Scott Altman.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.