09/15/04 — Duplin announced Teacher of the Year winner

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Duplin announced Teacher of the Year winner

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 15, 2004 1:59 PM

KENANSVILLE -- The women at the teachers' table chatted, waiting for the announcement of the winner.

School was the topic of discussion around the table Tuesday night at the Country Squire restaurant.

Janice Stark of Wallace Elementary was announced the 2004-2005 Duplin County Teacher of the Year. She said it was an honor to just be nominated.

"We are the lone adults in a sea of children each day," she told the other nominees. "It's an honor to spend time with you."

School Superintendent Tommy Benson said they're the best and the brightest of the teaching force, but he knows there are many more great teachers back at the schools.

"You send a message to the public, 'We know what we're doing.'" He thanked them for being dedicated, caring, competent and knowledgeable.

The teachers were interviewed all day by the judges. One of the judges, Jo Cameron Jones, is a news reporter and a retired teacher. She has been a judge for the past 30 years. She said the teacher of the year announcement is her favorite assignment.

"We learned today about the ripple effect," she said. "You teach the alphabet in kindergarten, and I teach in high school how to write thank you notes. We learned dragon flies can fly in and out of classrooms. We learned you can get parents out by offering food. ...We all are so proud of you."

The other judges were Minnie Briant; Steve Davis, the 2003-2004 Teacher of the Year; and sheriff's Sgt. Richard "Peanut" Whitman.

Davis said last year when he was sitting at the same table, he had never won anything but a parking ticket.

"I've coached, taught and been an administrator, and Duplin County is the best place for teaching there is," said Davis, who announced Ms. Stark as this year's Teacher of the Year.

"I wouldn't trade my experience in Duplin County for anything in the world," said Davis. He came in 1971 to work in Duplin County. "Every one of you showed a fierce caring for your students. I applaud each one of you. Each one of you is worthy."

The 2004-2005 Principal of the Year was also announced. The winner this year was M.D. Guthrie of Wallace-Rose Hill High School. He was unable to attend.