08/20/14 — School of Engineering teacher wins Teacher of the Year

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School of Engineering teacher wins Teacher of the Year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 20, 2014 1:46 PM

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Allyson Daly of Wayne School of Engineering shows her sur- prise at being selected as Wayne County Public School's Teacher of the Year. The Eng- lish teacher has been in the profession for 13 years, including nine at Eastern Wayne High School, and is starting her second year at WSE.

An educator whose philosophy is to "save the world by grading papers" was named the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Wayne County Public Schools.

Allyson Daly, an English teacher at Wayne School of Engineering, received the distinction Tuesday night during a banquet at Goldsboro Country Club.

A self-described "shy, 'Air Forced' nomadic child and teenager," she wrote in her bio that she had initially resisted becoming a teacher.

When she later chose that occupation and entered the classroom, though, she soon became disenchanted with the "pass them, fail them mentality" and sought other options and approaches.

Challenged by a particularly difficult pool of students that included dropouts returning to school, parents-to-be, autistic kids, homeless students and daily pot smokers, she hunkered down and went about the business of teaching English to a group that had failed the subject many times, she said.

"And all of them, every single one, gathered on graduation day for a picture," she recalled. "Where we were standing at that moment, we had traveled together. We soared together as graduates rather than dropouts."

Gary Hales, her principal at WSE, called her "one of the best teachers" he had worked with in his career.

Mrs. Daly joined the staff there last year. Prior to that, she taught for nine years at Eastern Wayne High School. Since earning at bachelor's degree in English education and a master's degree in English, both from East Carolina University, she has spent 13 years in the profession, including a stint as adjunct instructor at the University of Mount Olive and a graduate teaching assistant at ECU.

In her acceptance speech, she lauded the community of educators she has become a part of, and noted the importance of having a good support system to keep them going.

"This is a job where we have to go every day and smile. We always have that student who needs more grace from us than we think we can give," she said. "We think we can save the world by grading papers but we aim to do it."

She also acknowledged the two principals with whom she has worked -- Hales, she said, for "creating a school where teachers love to teach," and Gene Byrd, administrator at EWH, for letting her try new ideas.

While her husband, Michael, was out of town, her parents, John and Barbara Stiles, accompanied her. She credited them with providing an example of "noble character" that has stayed with her long after she left home to pursue a career.

Each school in the district selects its own Teacher of the Year, with the pool narrowed to three finalists, from the elementary, middle and high school levels.

This year's other two recipients were Donna Lewis, a fourth-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School, and Melissa Riser, a band and music teacher at Rosewood Middle School.

As part of the award, Mrs. Daly received a $5,000 travel/study stipend, a $1,500 check and will now advance to the regional competition.

The other two finalists receive a $4,000 travel/study stipend.