G.E. Massey Elementary School had a special visitor on Wednesday. “Sir Purr,” the official mascot for the Carolina Panthers came to Lincolnton to recognize third grade teacher, McKenzie Fortner as the FSIoffice and the Carolina Panthers Teacher of the Season. In addition to the visit by Sir Purr, Fortner received $5,000 in office supplies which she graciously shared with the entire school. In addition, Fortner was able to attend a Panther’s game in charlotte and was recognized there. 

Sir Purr and staff members from FSIoffice delivered carts full of office supplies to Fortner’s classroom. Sir Purr signed cards for each student and spent some time “teaching” them their lessons.

Originally, Fortner had intended to go to school to become a nurse, however, after volunteering at a local elementary school while she was a senior in high school, she decided she wanted to be a teacher. 

To win the teacher of the season, Fortner was recommended by teachers and staff at G.E. Massey for the contest, basing the nomination on a Facebook post that Fortner made at the start of school.

“It was about how I have 180 days with my kids,” she said. “I was so excited to prepare them for the future, not just for fourth grade, but for the future of their lives, how to be a kind human, to be an individual who cares. To teach them that they’re way more important than a test and they can do anything they put their minds to.”

Like so many teachers, at the beginning of the year, Fortner spent her own money to purchase necessities  for her students and was glad to have been gifted with so many supplies to help the students at G.E. Massey be successful.

“I think this is an amazing experience for McKenzie and for G.E. Massey,” Kelly Withrow, principal at GE Massey said. “She was the first winner of the first week and I think she’s phenomenal. This is really only her second full year of teaching and she deserves every bit of recognition that she can get. I have to keep reminding myself that she is a new teacher. The rapport she has with the other teachers, the kids and their parents is like a teacher that’s been in the classroom for 20 years. We were very blessed she was nominated and chosen as the top one.”

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