10/10/10 — Duplin names teacher, principal of year

View Archive

Duplin names teacher, principal of year

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on October 10, 2010 1:50 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Amy Powers, an English teacher at Wallace-Rose Hill High School, was named Duplin County's Teacher of the Year for 2010-11, while Debra Hunter, principal at North Duplin Junior/Senior High School, received the top honor as the county's Principal of the Year.

Ms. Powers teaches 11th-grade classes in English III and Advanced Placement language and composition.

She earned her teacher certification from Appalachian State University after attending Francis Marion College in South Carolina.

Ms. Powers previously taught at R.J. Reynolds High School, North Forsyth High School and Carver High School in Winston-Salem. She joined Duplin County Schools in 2008. She remains a member of the Professional Educators of North Carolina.

She was named Wallace-Rose Hill High School Teacher of the Year in August. Ms. Powers has taught English and related classes for 20 years.

The granddaughter of a sixth-grade art, math and science teacher and a high school shop teacher, she "began going to school before kindergarten," she said.

"My idea of play always involved chalk, math workbooks and "Dick and Jane" primers," she said in her professional biography.

At first, she was reluctant to become a teacher after an internship at West Florence High School in South Carolina showed her what it might be like.

"Who would ever want to work with students who did not care anything about Shakespeare, semicolons and metrical feet," she said.

But after earning her college degree and working as a substitute teacher, she learned to love and appreciate having a chance to help students.

In her 20 years in front of a classroom, Ms. Powers has taught doctors, a speech writer for foreign heads of state, a substance abuse counselor and college football stars. But her greatest accomplishment as a teacher is simple, she said.

"I know I always learn more than my students do every year, and I tell them this. I have stressed that learning does not stop at the end of the school day or senior year. Perhaps I have encouraged my students to learn through me, with me and even in spite of me," she said.

At Wallace-Rose Hill High School, Mrs. Powers has been part of the Duplin County schools job shadowing program, served as a graduation project community mentor and is currently working with the Upward Bound program at James Sprunt Community College.

She was "truly humbled" when she was chosen as the county's teacher of the year, she said.

"To be part of such a fine group was enough. To be recognized is indeed an honor. I really believe that as teachers we are effective only when surrounded by talented people. I am blessed to work with such fine educators," she said.

Principal of the Year Debra Hunter was born in Clinton and attended Fayetteville State University. She later earned a master's of school administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Mrs. Hunter is married to Ronnie Hunter and the couple has two adult children, Wesley Hunter and Wynde Stocks. They also have four grandchildren.

When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book and activities such as baking, gardening and decorating.

She was inspired to become an administrator by the many teachers who touched her own life, Mrs. Hunter said.

"I had many wonderful teachers who shared their passion for teaching mathematics, which led me to choose the same career path. It has been a great experience," she said.

Mrs. Hunter has filled a number of leadership roles within the school environment during her time as an educator and administrator, and was encouraged by former administrators to pursue a degree and career in school administration.

"It is a perfect fit, I love what I do," she said.

She was honored to be named principal of the year, Mrs. Hunter said.

"It is a wonderful vote of confidence from my colleagues. I am very grateful for their support," she said.