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Person County Schools’ Beginning Teacher of Excellence, Austin Harris

The following article is from the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NTSP) May 2018 Newsletter. The NC NTSP provides support for beginning teachers during their first three years of teaching. The key features of the program include: instructional skills institute, professional development, and instructional coaching.

Austin Harris, an eighth grade English Arts teacher at Northern High School, was recently named Person County Schools’ Beginning Teacher of Excellence. Austin is in his second year of teaching and received his Bachelor of Arts in Middle Grades Education from North Carolina Central University. In addition to his teaching duties, Austin is an advisor for the Men of Valor club. His work with this program inspires young men to be leaders in their community.

Those who work with Austin speak highly of his ability to communicate with students, provide rigorous instruction and earn the respect of his colleagues. His principal, Ashley Warren, describes Austin as someone “who not only stands out amongst his BT colleagues; he stands out amongst our staff in general.”  His North Carolina New Teacher Support Coach, Vanessa Smart, finds that “his ability to facilitate learning while engaging his students rivals that of some veteran teachers I have worked with.” Austin works hard to incorporate a variety of instructional strategies into his classroom, build relationships with staff and students and to go above and beyond what is expected of him. He truly believes that “education is not just my career; it is my calling.”

Kristen Daniel, the Band Director at Person High School and Joseph Neal, a 6th grade ELA teacher at Southern Middle School, were nominated for the Beginning Teaching of Excellence Award at the school-level. Their North Carolina New Teacher Support Coach, Kathy Fields, recognizes that “both Kristen and Joseph are naturals when it comes to the facilitation of their classroom environments. They work to build a respectful classroom, hold high expectations, and provide in depth instruction and feedback so that their students grow as learners.” 

The beginning teachers of Person County enthusiastically deliver high quality instruction to their students each day.  Their dedication does not go unnoticed!

For more information about the NC NTSP, click here.

Kathy Fields

Kathy Fields is an Instructional Coach for the UNC-CH Region of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) and currently coaches teachers in Person County. Fields previously taught Kindergarten in both Wake and Durham Counties, represented her school as a district finalist for Teacher of the Year in Durham county, served as a Mentor to beginning teachers, and as a Cooperating Teacher for teachers at UNC-CH, NCCU and NC State Universities. She holds Bachelor’s degree in English, a B-K add-on licensure and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Family Support, all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Fields enjoys working with teachers from the Preschool to high school level and champions the idea an early and strong educational foundation is an important component of a child’s learning.