Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

News roundup

Regional Teachers of the Year Named

Keana Triplett, 2015 Teacher of the Year (Photo Credit:
Keana Triplett, 2015 Teacher of the Year (Photo Credit:

Nine teachers are vying for the honor of being named the 2016 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

All of them have been selected to represent their regions and charter schools as the state’s regional Teachers of the Year.

“These nine teachers personify the instructional excellence that we are fortunate to have in classrooms across the state. Thanks to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, we can give these special educators the recognition that they so richly deserve.” State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a news release.

 The 2016 North Carolina Regional Teachers of the Year are:

  • Northeast: Marie Smith, Conway Middle (Northampton County Schools);
  • Southeast: Katie Snyder, Hoggard High (New Hanover County Schools);
  • North Central: Margaret McNeill, Dunn Middle (Harnett County Schools);
  • Sandhills: Olivia Hall, Roseboro-Salemburg Middle (Sampson County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad: Kevin Scharen, Graham High (Alamance-Burlington Schools);
  • Southwest: Bobbie Cavnar, South Point High (Gaston County Schools);
  • Northwest: Leah Hayes, South Newton Elementary (Newton-Conover City Schools);
  • Western: Angel Ledbetter, Rutherford Early College High (Rutherford County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Brandon Brown, Lake Norman Charter (Mecklenburg County).

The Teacher of the Year program has existed in North Carolina since 1970. The current honoree is Keana Triplett, a high school English teacher at Ashe County High. Her successor will be named on April 7 at a Cary awards ceremony.

Education Week State Report Cards

Education Week has released an interactive map that gives grades to each state in a variety of areas.

The overall score for the entire country is a C (74.4). North Carolina’s overall grade is a slightly lower C- (70.6).

By clicking on individual states, the map gives a breakdown of grades on particular items.

North Carolina gets a C+ (76.5) on “Chance for Success,” which encompasses three sub-categories.

Early foundations:  B- (81.1)
School years: C (74.6)
Adult outcomes: C (74.5)

A breakdown of what goes into all of these categories can be found here. “Early foundations” is determined by looking at things like family income, parent education, and employment. “School years” looks at things like preschool and kindergarten enrollment, as well as reading and math achievement. And “Adult outcomes” comes from an analysis of items such as employment, income, and educational attainment.

North Carolina gets a D+ (69) on “K-12 Achievement,” and a D (66.3) for “School Finance.”

The two subcategories for “School Finance” are “Equity,” for which the state received a B+ (88.7) and “Spending,” for which it received an F (43.8).

Applications for 46th Annual Youth Legislative Assembly now open

Governor Pat McCrory put out a press release inviting applications for a program that teaches high school students about North Carolina laws and lawmaking.

The Governor’s Youth Advocacy & Involvement Office is taking applications until February 19 for a conference to be held April 1-3 in Raleigh.

“Our Youth Legislative Assembly program gives North Carolina students who are interested in government a head-start in learning the process and developing the necessary skills needed to succeed as future leaders,” McCrory said in a press release. “Our administration is proud to continue this long tradition of preparing the future of our state.”

According to the release, during the Youth Legislative Assembly, students get to act as legislators, coming up with, debating, and even voting on “mock” legislation.

The Assembly is open to state students “who are in good standing at a public, private, charter or home school,” the press release stated.

For more information, you can email the Assembly Coordinator Erica Gallion at or reach her at 919-807-4406.

Schools of Opportunity Nominations open

The National Education Policy Center is seeking nominations for schools that wish to be considered “Schools of Opportunity.”

The call on the Center’s website says that the Center wants to recognize “excellent public high schools that actively strive to close opportunity gaps.” Schools chosen will be models for other schools and officials around the country, the website states.

“As we begin this new project, we look forward to working with interested principals and teachers,” the website states. “The application process is designed to allow you to explain how and why your school should be recognized, and we will provide any assistance needed to help nominators easily complete and submit their information.”

Any school that has at least grades 10-12 is eligible. If you want to nominate one, you can fill out an application. The deadline is January 20. The website says the Center particularly encourages “schools serving communities of color and communities with higher rates of poverty.”

Here is a video that explains the application process. The project is funded by the Ford Foundation and the NEA Foundation, according to the website.

Alex Granados

Alex Granados was the senior reporter for EducationNC from December 2014-March 2023.