05/11/05 — Beginning teachers honored by school officials

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Beginning teachers honored by school officials

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on May 11, 2005 1:48 PM

Wayne County Public Schools recently honored its pool of beginning teachers.

The second annual breakfast and recognition event recognized teachers with less than three years of experience. Each school nominated a candidate, all of whom are participants in the N.C. Initial Licenser Program for beginning teachers. The selection process included interviews with each nominee and support statements from both the principal and the teacher's mentor.

George Weidinger of Dillard Middle School was chosen Beginning Teacher of the Year. The other two finalists were Tesha Deans-Isler from North Drive Elementary School and Maurice Nicholson from Belfast Academy.

Debbie Durham, coordinator of the initial licensing program in Wayne, said the event is a small but important way to give beginning teachers the recognition they deserve. With research showing that an estimated 40 percent of new teachers leaving the profession within the first five years, the school system is working to keep its newer teachers on the payroll, she said.

"We hope this event provides encouragement and is a means to show how much they are appreciated by not only their students and individual schools but by the entire system," she said.

Weidinger is in his first full year as a sixth-grade math and science teacher at Dillard. His principal, Marvin McCoy, credited him with developing and using multiple styles of teaching.

"This gives him the ability to cater to the diverse learning styles of our children," McCoy said. "His style has caused the students to embrace learning."

In accepting the honor, Weidinger referred to his military background before entering the profession.

"I had a hard reflecting, and I'll tell you today I am very humbled," he said. "Each and every one of us knows we don't do it for the reward. We teach to reach each and every student."

As Beginning Teacher of the Year, he received a check for $500, the use of a laptop computer, and the opportunity to attend an all-expenses-paid in-state conference of his choice.

Nicholson is a first-year English teacher at Belfast and Ms. Deans-Isler is a third-year fifth-grade teacher at North Drive. They each received a $150 check.

Nominees included: Brian Weeks, Brogden Middle School; Andrea Duerkson, Brogden Primary; Kathy Capen, Carver Elementary; Felicia Best, Carver Heights Elementary; Jay Westbrook, Charles B. Aycock High; Kristin Rothwell, Eastern Wayne Elementary; Elizabeth Weathers, Eastern Wayne High; Stephanie Davis, Eastern Wayne Middle; Lori Thomas, Edgewood; Allison Howell, Fremont STARS; Nicholas Millner, Goldsboro High; Erica Bean, Goldsboro Middle; Jaime Cox, Grantham Elementary; Melissa Wise, Grantham Middle; Michael Corbitt, Greenwood Middle; Angela Owen, Meadow Lane Elementary; Kimberly Hughes, Mount Olive Middle; Brandy Causey, Northeast Elementary; Donna Cox, Northwest Elementary; Lauren Williams, Norwayne Middle; Leatrice Reid, Rosewood Elementary; Gabriel Mitchell, Rosewood High; Elizabeth McDaniel, Rosewood Middle; Melanie Washington, School Street Elementary; Leonese Marshall, Southern Academy; Holly King, Southern Wayne High; Jeanne Amos, Spring Creek Elementary; Pamela Simpkins, Spring Creek Middle; Christy Shivar, Spring Creek High; and Donnell Garris, Tommy's Road Elementary.