08/29/07 — RHS's Best takes home top teacher district title

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RHS's Best takes home top teacher district title

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 29, 2007 1:45 PM

Cathy Best, a business education teacher at Rosewood High School, could hardly believe it when she was named "Teacher of the Year" for her school and then the finalist for the high school level.

"I kept saying, 'Why are they giving me this when the others are also working so hard?'" she said.

Her attitude did not change much when she was named Wayne County Public Schools 2007-08 Teacher of the Year Tuesday night.

"I'm very humbled about representing Wayne County teachers," she told the audience. "Please bear in mind it is a representation. It represents all of you and concerted efforts.

"We all work hard, please know that. ... I'm very, very honored."

After posing for a few pictures and letting some of the moment sink in, she smiled broadly and said, "That was fun."

Husband Kirby and daughter Kelly, 14, were on hand to support Mrs. Best, who also has a 25-year-old son, Kelby.

Kelly, a ninth-grader at Rosewood, said she has never had her mom as a teacher but looked forward to it because other students have told her Mrs. Best "was cool."

The honor represents a circuitous route into teaching. Mrs. Best, a graduate of Southern Wayne High School, became a school secretary/teacher assistant at River Bend School at Cherry Hospital in 1976. In 1987, she went to Goldsboro Middle and Goldsboro High, where she worked for two years as a special populations coordinator.

She has been at Rosewood since 1989.

For the past seven years, she has also worked part-time as an online business and personal law instructor at Virtual High School in Maryland and this year added North Carolina to the roster, as an online E-Commerce instructor.

In 2000, she earned National Board Certification and is currently working toward her master's degree in vocational business education at East Carolina University. She has also been recognized for "Online Outstanding Service" from Virtual High School in Maryland and had twice been previously named Teacher of the Year at her school.

"Mrs. Best is an engaging classroom teacher, who is an instructional leader within her department, and a trusted professional schoolwide," said her principal, David Lewis. "In the classroom, Mrs. Best works to teach her content in a way that is meaningful for students.

"Students love Mrs. Best's class because she challenges them to work beyond what is simply required of them. They perform at a level that is commensurate with their teacher's expectations -- outstanding!"

Leading up to the announcement, Dr. Steven Taylor, superintendent of schools, read an excerpt from Mrs. Best's nomination: "Describing herself, she said every day she 'treats her students as guests and every day she strives to prepare a nice meal for them.'"

Teachers of such caliber represent the district well, he said.

"Each year the Teacher of the Year process enables us to honor our most outstanding teachers," he said. "Mrs. Best earned this outstanding achievement because of her love of students and her proven track record at the 'head of the class.'"

Mrs. Best will now advance to the regional competition. She also received a $5,000 Kemp/Twiford World View Travel/Study Award to be used to travel outside the United States.

The award was established as a stipend to enable educators to expand their global experiences and relate them back to the classroom.

Bill Kemp, who died this past year, championed the cause. A Goldsboro businessman, former legislator and Board of Education member, he was also a founding member of the advisory board for the World View Global Education program in Chapel Hill.

The other finalists at the elementary and middle school levels were Edgewood Community Developmental School preschool teacher Sonja Emerson and Greenwood Middle School eighth-grade math and science teacher Robin Re. Each of them received a $4,000 travel award.