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Kurt Garner named 2023 CTE Teacher of the Year

Kurt Garner, a business teacher at J.H. Rose High School in Pitt County Schools, was named the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2023 Career & Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year.

The ceremony took place at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023, according to this press release.

A former student said Garner taught her countless things about succeeding in business and the real world.

“Without his continuous support, motivation, and drive to impact every student’s life, I truly do not know where hundreds of students would be,” she noted. “As an education major, I constantly think about what I want to be like as a teacher. I am always thinking about what I will be like standing in front of my classroom, teaching, and trying to make an impact on my students’ lives. Truthfully, if I can be even half the educator Mr. Garner is, I can make an impact like no other.”

The 2023-24 school year will mark Garner’s sixth on the Rose staff and 17th in the PCS system. Garner’s appointment at JHR in August 2018, which includes instruction in computer engineering, programming, and Microsoft Office, followed 11 years at D.H. Conley High School, where he taught in a similar capacity beginning in 2007. In addition to his selection as PCS Teacher of the Year in 2011, Garner was honored as the North Carolina Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Adviser of the Year in 2016. He currently serves on the organization’s state executive board. He is also an adviser for the National Technical Honor Society and has held membership in the National Business Education Association since 2005.

NCCAT is thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the teaching profession, said Brock Womble, executive director of NCCAT.

“What is unique about Mr. Garner and all the finalists is that not only are they incredibly talented in their field and in the way they inspire students, but they also care about their community,” Womble said. “CTE teachers across our state impact students and families meaningfully while helping students gain real-world experience. Meeting all the finalists this week was a pleasure for the NCCAT staff. All of them are outstanding. We appreciate everyone who made this week and event possible to honor the teaching profession.”

Guest speakers for the evening included Peyton Holland, executive director of the National Technical Honor Society; Missy Swain, NCCAT 2022 CTE Teacher of the Year and CTE Director for Perquimans County Schools; and Josiah Young, 2023 North Carolina CTE U.S. Presidential Scholar.

The award was presented for the second time, with finalists from across the state in attendance.

Courtesy of NCCAT

The runner-up is Barnanne Creech, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Zebulon Gifted & Talented Magnet Middle School in the Wake County Public School System. Creech serves in multiple leadership roles, from teacher mentor and department chair to school improvement chair. She shares and leads monthly district PLC meetings.

A parent noted that Creech helped her son create and hold a fishing camp in the community to teach kids the fundamentals of fishing due to constant encouragement and extraordinary efforts. The parent shared that her son is now a confident speaker and presenter, winning multiple awards at competitions and serving in numerous leadership capacities.

The NCCAT 2023 NC CTE Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Joseph (Joe) MiciottoAlamance-Burlington Schools
Dewayne KregeAvery County Schools
Andrea GladdenBurke County Public Schools
Brittany ChildersCabarrus County Schools
Hollie SchratwieserCamden County Schools
Mikie BroadhurstCarteret County Schools
Chadwick (Chad) RorieCharlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Bobbie JonesClay County Schools
Ashley McCullenCumberland County Schools
John SpillmanDavidson County Schools
Casey SpearEdenton-Chowan Public Schools
Kim OsborneGuilford County Schools
Rob JonesHarnett County Schools
Mario MalabungaHoke County Schools
Kim WilliamsJackson County Schools
Matthew BarnhillJohnston County Schools
Jay CampbellNew Hanover County Schools
Sheri HalePamlico County Schools
Kurt GarnerPitt County Schools
Candace GrimsleyPublic Schools of Robeson County
Heather McNeelyTransylvania County Schools
Thomas (T.J.) KohlbrennerUnion County Schools
Barnanne CreechWake County Public Schools
Thelma KastlWilkes County Schools

The NCCAT Career & Technical Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor teachers who support students and families across North Carolina. Here is more information about the program.

Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.