A language arts teacher at Elkin Middle School has been named the 2018-19 Elkin City Schools Teacher of the Year.
Karen Spencer came to Elkin’s school district in 2012 as the Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) coordinator and an AIG teacher for Elkin Elementary School. The newly-named ECS TOY now serves as a seventh-grade language arts teacher and will represent the city school district in the regional TOY competition.
“Mrs. Spencer was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow and graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and secondary education. She also is certified for language arts grades six through nine and AIG,” said Lisa Pendry, who was principal at EMS until Monday when she took a new director’s role with ECS.
Pendry recognized Spencer at Thursday’s Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting.
Prior to joining Elkin City Schools, Spencer was a sixth-grade teacher in language arts and social studies at Boonville Elementary School when it was kindergarten through eighth grade. “While there, she was twice selected as teacher of the year,” Pendry said.
“It is no wonder why Mrs. Spencer has been recognized several times as teacher of the year,” she said. “She’s a great teacher.
“We often talk about the four C’s of education — communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, but when I thought of Mrs. Spencer, I kept thinking of P words, the six P’s — professional, personable, positive, passionate, practical and proven,” said Pendry.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with Mrs. Spencer at all three schools, and I’ve had numerous opportunities to observe her classes and work with her on various committees,” she said. “Her lessons are well designed, she is effective in communicating ideas, she uses a variety of instructional strategies, and she ensures students have a high level of engagement.”
Pendry commented on Spencer’s efforts to appeal to students’ individual needs and forming strong relationships with her students. “She is a very effective teacher and knows how to make students grow,” she said.
“When I asked Mrs. Spencer what she most enjoyed about education, she replied, ‘Establishing relationships with students that go way beyond the years you teach them,’” Pendry said. “One quote Mrs. Spencer included in her teacher of the year essay was, ‘Students don’t care what they know until they know that you care.’
“There is no doubt Mrs. Spencer cares deeply about her students, and they know it,” she said.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Elkin City,” Spencer told the school board. “I really appreciate being selected as teacher of the year. I’ve had the privilege of teaching at all three schools, and at all three, I’ve found nothing but people who love children and who want the best.”
“I would like to add as far as Mrs. Spencer goes, the only thing that made it bearable to lose her as an AIG teacher at Elkin Elementary School was knowing that she was going to be the one who was going to be teaching our babies as we sent them across the creek,” said Elkin Elementary Principal Pam Colbert. “So it’s with a heavy heart we lost her, but we’re so glad that she’s there watching after our kids and I appreciate all that she does.”
In addition to recognizing Spencer, the Elkin High School track members who qualified for state competition also were honored.
While most of them were unable to attend due to summer schedules, Nathan Brown and Charles Walker were provided with certificates of recognition.
Other track team members qualifying for state included Catie Brown, Abby Dumas, Aaliyah Martin, Savannah Collins, Chris Lomax, Jonathan Anderson and Brandon Loredo.
In addition to recognitions, the school board members approved a number of revised policies, fiscal year-end budget amendments and a Whole Child Resolution, which is part of their membership in the North Carolina Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Wendy Byerly Wood can be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.