08/18/13 — Three finalists are chosen for Teacher of the Year

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Three finalists are chosen for Teacher of the Year

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 18, 2013 1:50 AM

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Kellie Davis

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Kristi Luckenbaugh

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Elizabeth McDaniel

The three finalists have been named for this year's Wayne County Public Schools Teacher of the Year.

The annual banquet to announce the district winner will be held Tuesday evening at Walnut Creek Country Club.

Meanwhile, selection was made following interviews this past week for representatives from the elementary, middle and high school levels.

Kristi Luckenbaugh, a second-grade teacher at Meadow Lane Elementary School, is the finalist from the elementary school candidates.

Elizabeth McDaniel, a language arts and social studies teacher at Grantham School, represents the middle grades teachers.

Kellie Davis, a mathematics teacher at Spring Creek High, is the finalist from the high school level.

Each year, the district selects "Teacher of the Year" at each of the 31 area schools. Teacher of the Year is part of the national program that has been in place for over 50 years.

Local school districts select a winner of the distinction, who will then compete in a regional competition. Winners of that contest then move on to the state competition and then have the opportunity to advance to compete for national Teacher of the Year. North Carolina has participated in the program since 1970.

Principals said the district finalists are outstanding candidates and demonstrate the necessary characteristics and qualifications to represent their peers and colleagues across the county.

"Mrs. Luckenbaugh has shown herself to have a true heart for children and is truly concerned about their learning," Meadow Lane principal Karen Wellington said. "Mrs. Luckenbaugh serves as a role model for her teammates and currently serves as a second-grade chair, DODEA grant participant, and a school leadership team member."

Mrs. Luckenbaugh has seven years of teaching experience, the past four spent in her present position.

Mrs. McDaniel has been in the profession for 11 years. She has been at Grantham for two years, where she has served on the School Improvement Team and PBIS commmittee, leads Vertical Alignment Professional Development for K-8, was a presenter at the district's Summer Institute and serves as an adviser for the Grantham Battle of the Books team.

Principal Lisa Tart said, "(She) has garnered the respect of her peers and parents due to being a very dynamic, informed educator who combines wit and intelligence to deliver quality instruction as well as professional development."

Mrs. Davis has spent 12 of her 14 years in education at Spring Creek. She chairs the school's math department, is a trained clinical teacher, co-chair of the School Improvement Team and AdvanceED accreditation committee and is adviser for several student clubs and committees.

"Mrs. Davis has extraordinary skills and talents and possesses a natural gift for educating children," principal Stephen Clingan said.

The WCPS "Teacher of the Year" will win a $5,000 travel/study stipend, a $1,500 check and compete against "Teacher of the Year" candidates from other school systems in the regional competition. The two finalists will receive a $4,000 stipend.