08/18/14 — County schools to pick Teacher of the Year

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County schools to pick Teacher of the Year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 18, 2014 1:46 PM

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Donna Lewis

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Allyson Daly

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Melissa Riser

Three finalists for Wayne County Public Schools' Teacher of the Year have been chosen, and the district winner will be announced at the annual banquet on Tuesday at Goldsboro Country Club.

Finalists at the three school levels -- elementary, middle and high school -- are Donna Lewis from Northwest Elementary School, Melissa Riser from Rosewood Middle School and Allyson Daly from Wayne School of Engineering.

The district participates in the national Teacher of the Year program that has been in place for more than a half century. Each school selects its own representative, with the district winner going on to compete in a regional competition. There is also a state and national contest to recognize outstanding educators.

Mrs. Lewis, a fourth-grade teacher, has spent six of her seven years in the profession at Northwest. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a self-contained exceptional children's instructional assistant at Northwest and Meadow Lane elementary schools. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education and a master's degree in administration and curriculum and instruction, both from East Carolina University.

"When I think of a model teacher, I think of someone who is dedicated, flexible, hardworking, knowledgeable, a teacher leader and someone with passion for students and teaching," said her principal, Theresa Cox. "These qualities are consistently exemplified by Mrs. Lewis. She is dedicated to the field of education and most importantly to the students."

Mrs. Riser, a music and band teacher, has been in her present position for five years. During her eight years in education, she has served in similar capacities at Rosewood middle and high schools, and at Goldsboro Intermediate School. She was previously a long-term substitute music and band teacher at Southgate Community Schools in Southgate, Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree in music education from Alma College.

Her principal, Kevin Smith, called her an exceptional teacher and leader.

"Mrs. Riser not only teaches her curriculum, but nurtures a love for the arts and a feeling of belonging among her students," he said. "Her reflective nature and steady temperament led to continuous self-improvement both in and out of the classroom."

Mrs. Daly attended ECU, where she earned both a bachelor's degree in English education and a master's degree in English. Before joining the staff at WSE last year, she taught for nine years at Eastern Wayne High School. During her 13 years in the profession, she has also been an adjunct instructor at the University of Mount Olive and a graduate teaching assistant at ECU.

"Mrs. Daly provides a rigorous curriculum that includes lively interaction and discourse," said her principal, Gary Hales. "She has an infectious enthusiasm for her job. I have witnessed her students grow in their love of reading and their ability to communicate effectively through written work and oral presentations."

The district Teacher of the Year will win a $5,000 travel/study stipend, a $1,500 check and advance to the regional competition. The two other finalists will receive a $4,000 travel/study stipend.