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County natives honored as teacher, principal of the year

 

West Lincoln’s Deborah Cornwell was named Teacher of the Year by Lincoln County Schools.

West Lincoln’s Deborah Cornwell was named Teacher of the Year by Lincoln County Schools.

 

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

 

Lincoln County Schools honored their top administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers last week at their annual “Of the Year” Celebration at the Citizens Center. This year, Melanie Huss from Kiser Intermediate School was recognized as the district’s Principal of the Year.

While Huss has served as Kiser Intermediate School’s principal for only the past two years, she has worked for Lincoln County Schools for the past 15 years. A native to the county, Huss graduated from East Lincoln High School. After graduation, she attended Appalachian State University, where she received her undergraduate degree in Education. From there, she received a master’s degree in Elementary Education.

“I have a desire to serve kids,” Huss said. “I’ve always known I wanted to teach.”

She spent the next eight years as an elementary school teacher, working at S. Ray Lowder Elementary and later, Catawba Springs Elementary. With the mentoring guidance from her principals, Huss pursued her new interest in administration, receiving a degree in Middle School Administration at Appalachian State University.

From there, Huss spent three years as an assistant principal for East Lincoln Middle School and West Lincoln Middle School, until she was promoted to principal at East Lincoln Middle School, and later, as Kiser Intermediate’s principal.

“I really have a distinct focus on doing what’s right for the kids,” Huss said. “I ask myself, ‘how can we all collaborate to ensure the mission of the school is accomplished?’”

During her time at Kiser Intermediate, she has worked toward increasing opportunities for parents to be involved in their child’s education, as well as community involvement.

“The best part of my job is coming to work every day and seeing these kids grow and change both socially and academically as they grow into good citizens,” Huss said.

The district’s Teacher of the Year is also a Lincoln County native. After graduating from Lincolnton High School, Deborah Cornwell attended Lenoir-Rhyne College, known today as Lenoir Rhyne University, for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

“I actually did two years of interims right when I got of college because at the time, North Carolina had a hiring freeze,” she recalled. “I actually started my career at East Lincoln Junior High where I taught ninth grade, and then when they moved the ninth grade to the high school, I went to East Lincoln High School. For the first twelve years, I taught half day English and half day history. For the last 10 years, I’ve been strictly English.”

Currently, the 18-year West Lincoln veteran teaches 12th grade honors English, AP English Literature and Yearbook.

With more than 30 years of teaching experience under her belt, Cornwell feels that she was not the most qualified recipient for the award, but rather a representation of the county’s excellent educators.

“Being teacher of the year, I feel like it’s a representation of me representing all of the good teachers out there,” she explained. “I am surrounded by good teachers. I actually had two of my former students who were Teachers of the Year at their schools, and I’m very proud of them. I don’t look at it as me being the most qualified teacher; I look at it as a chance to represent everybody who does a great job at teaching. I feel very humbled and honored by this, because I know how many good teachers there are out there.

“There are so many teachers that do such a great job, that every teacher is at least one student’s teacher of the year,” Cornwell continued. “To some student, that teacher made all the difference. I think that’s what we’re here for, and I hope for a few that I have done that.”

Other district winners included Heather Myers from East Lincoln Middle School as Assistant Principal of the Year, Clarence C. Hunt Jr. from North Lincoln Middle School as School Bus Driver of the Year, Rebekah Stanton from Rock Springs Elementary as Media Coordinator of the Year, Beth Embree from St. James Elementary as Counselor of the Year, Eric Altemose as Child Nutrition Employee of the Year, Inger Rhodes from North Lincoln Middle School as Volunteer of the Year and Rita Reel from Catawba Springs Elementary School as Classified Employee of the Year along with Carla Gillespie for Lincoln County Schools Administrative Office.

The following award recipients were selected from their individual schools as their school’s Teacher of the Year 2014, Classified Employee of the Year 2014 and Volunteer of the Year 2014:

Asbury

Teacher of the Year: Tammy Delauter

Classified Employee of the Year: Teresa Meeks

Battleground Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Frieda Beam

Classified Employee of the Year: Tina Rash

Volunteer of the Year: Allison Thompson

Catawba Springs Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Samantha Mehrlich

Classified Employee of the Year: Rita Reel

Volunteer of the Year: Shelley Morrow

East Lincoln High

Teacher of the Year: Cale Thornburg

Classified Employee of the Year: Tara Jolley

Volunteer of the Year Cathey VanHee

East Lincoln Middle

Teacher of the Year: Alison Huffman

Classified Employee of the Year: Anna Hartman

Volunteer of the Year: Brandon Freeman

G.E. Massey Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Clarissa Deaton

Classified Employee of the Year: Tonya Johnson

Volunteer of the Year: Leslie Secrest

Iron Station Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Grey

Classified Employee of the Year: Laura Phillips

Volunteer of the Year: Amy Grigg

Kiser Intermediate

Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Young

Classified Employee of the Year: Rhonda Thompson

Volunteer of the Year: Chris Rhyne

Lincoln County School of Technology

Teacher of the Year: Troy Jones

Volunteer of the Year: Nico Nocher

Lincolnton High

Teacher of the Year:  Lori Maxwell

Classified Employee of the Year: David Conner

Volunteer of the Year: Kevin Ray

Lincolnton Middle

Teacher of the Year: Malcolm Smith

Classified Employee of the Year: Karen Hurt

Volunteer of the Year: Jennifer Radebaugh

Love Memorial Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Kelli Huss

Classified Employee of the Year: Carolyn Hallman

Volunteer of the Year: Richard Morrison

Norris Childers Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Amie Hallman

Classified Employee of the Year: Debbie Logan

Volunteer of the Year: Ashley Richard

North Brook Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Emily Green

Classified Employee of the Year:  Sherry Elmore

Volunteer of the Year: Karen Mawyer

North Lincoln High

Teacher of the Year: Gillian Moore

Classified Employee of the Year:  Deana Sain

Volunteer of the Year: Beth Franck

North Lincoln Middle

Teacher of the Year: Mike Warlick

Classified Employee of the Year: Sherry Brooks

Volunteer of the Year: Inger Rhodes

Pumpkin Center Intermediate

Teacher of the Year: Ginger Black

Classified Employee of the Year: Gaye Knight

Volunteer of the Year: Beth Pickney

Pumpkin Center Primary

Teacher of the Year: Joy Sides

Classified Employee of the Year: Robin McMurry

Volunteer of the Year: Christina Sutton

Rock Springs Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Leah Caldwell

Classified Employee of the Year: Tom Pettus

Volunteer of the Year: Julie Smith

S Ray Lowder Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Laurie Sellers

Classified Employee of the Year: Sherri Beam

Volunteer of the Year: JoAnne Heavner

St. James Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Wanda Brewster

Classified Employee of the Year: Candace Kelley

Volunteer of the Year: Lisa Bean

Union Elementary

Teacher of the Year: Jennifer Henley

Classified Employee of the Year: Sonny Anthony

Volunteer of the Year: Kevin Miller

West Lincoln High

Teacher of the Year; Deborah Cornwell

Classified Employee of the Year: Donna Sain

Volunteer of the Year: Anita Navey

West Lincoln Middle

Teacher of the Year: Nikki Deaver

Classified Employee of the Year: Lisa Williams

Volunteer of the Year: Karen Byers

 

 

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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