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Who are North Carolina’s teachers of the year?

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has announced the regional Teacher of the Year winners. From among these nine educators, the 2022 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be chosen.

“These outstanding teachers are helping to set a high bar for their students as well as their colleagues,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt in a press release. “Every student in North Carolina deserves a highly qualified, excellent teacher in every classroom, and these teachers exceed that expectation. Their students, schools and communities are very fortunate to have them.”

The nine regional winners are:

  • West: Ryan Mitchell, Mills River Elementary (Henderson County Public Schools)
  • Northwest: Ashley Bandy, Newton-Conover High (Newton-Conover City Schools)
  • Southwest: Ashtyn Berry, W.R. Odell Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools)
  • Piedmont-Triad: Leah Carper, Northern Guilford High (Guilford County Schools)
  • Sandhills: Elizabeth Santamour, East Hoke Middle (Hoke County Schools)
  • North Central: Brian Link, East Chapel Hill High (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools)
  • Northeast: Clinton Todd, J.H. Rose High (Pitt County Schools)
  • Southeast: Abbey Nobles, New Hanover High (New Hanover County Schools)
  • Charter Schools: William Keegan Storrs, Roxboro Community School

The 2022 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced in April.

According to the press release, the program is meant to “promote the profession through advocacy and support while recognizing outstanding teaching professionals who are implementing best practices in classrooms across North Carolina.”

Some previous awardees currently serve on the State Board of Education as voting members (James Ford) or have joined DPI in professional roles (Freebird McKinney, Julie Pittman).

In December 2021, the North Carolina Center for Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) Beginning Teacher of the Year finalists were also announced.

One of the 27 candidates will be named the 2022 NCCAT Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year in February.

In a press release, NCCAT Executive Director Brock Womble said, “Taking time to honor excellent beginning educators across our state through the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2022 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year program is important, as we are continually striving to elevate the teaching profession and emphasize the significance of the work they do every day.”

The finalists are:

  • Anson County Schools – Erin Thomas
  • Ashe County Schools – Charlene Horton
  • Asheboro City Schools – Keichelle Joyce
  • Beaufort County Schools – Brianna Genello
  • Brunswick County Schools – Denise-Marie Copeland
  • Buncombe County Schools – Anneliese Shreve
  • Charlotte Lab Charter School – Meghan Dugan
  • Cleveland County Schools – Ricky Alston, Jr.
  • Clinton City Schools – Thomas Kweon
  • Edenton-Chowan Schools – Kaitlyn Smith
  • Franklin County Schools – Rachel McKeithan
  • Greene County Schools – Meghan Chinn
  • Guilford County Schools – Minh McNicholas
  • Harnett County Schools – Jenae Dwornicki
  • Lee County Schools – Riley Sullivan
  • McDowell County Schools – Nicholas Reller
  • Mount Airy City Schools – Candice Fenton-Haynes
  • New Hanover County Schools – Rachel Norfleet
  • Newton-Conover City Schools – Kayleigh Spivey
  • Orange County Schools – Xavier Adams
  • Pitt County Schools – Ashley Parmley
  • Socrates Academy – Jackson Barkley
  • Southern Wake Academy – David Witkowski
  • Stanly County Schools – Casey Thompson
  • Transylvania County Schools – Ashlee O’Dwyer
  • Wake County Public Schools – Zoe Grove
  • Wilkes County Schools – Brooke Bentley

“Public school educators across our state work hard every day to make an impact on the lives of North Carolina students,” Womble said.


EdNC staff reporting relies on staff, interns, and columnists.