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LCPS names Teacher of the Year finalists for 2022-2023

They were teachers long before they began their teaching careers, and that fact may help explain why the three of them are finalists for the title of LCPS Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023.

 Three women pose in front of a white wall between the state and American flags.The three women – Jordan Hudson of Northwest Elementary School, Pauline Lindo of EB Frink Middle School and Candace Tilghman-Rouse of Northeast Elementary School – were chosen Thursday to advance in the Teacher of the Year selection process by a panel of judges who interviewed all 17 educators named as their school’s Teacher of the Year.

One of them will be named the district’s next Teacher of the Year after those same judges observe the three in their classrooms next month and the finalists keynote the annual LCPS Employee Recognition Banquet scheduled for April 12.

If, in those speeches, they touch on their backgrounds, a couple of commonalities will likely emerge – their passion for what they do and their innate desire to do it.

“All of my life I have always been excited about teaching,” Tilghman-Rouse wrote in the biography that was part of her Teacher of the Year portfolio. “I taught everything and everybody. I taught my toys, my siblings, my cousins and anyone else who I thought would listen.”

In her biography, Lindo remembered helping her younger brother with homework. “This is where my teaching skills and interest to help others began,” she wrote. “Other children in the neighborhood started coming over because he would be telling anyone who would listen that his sister would help.”

Hudson says her own teachers inspired to teach, especially those at North Lenoir High School, her alma mater. “Not only did I want to pass on these skills but also to have the same impact teachers had on my life,” she wrote.

That desire to help is a thread that ran through all the Teacher of the Year nominees, according to LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams, a member of the judging panel. 

“I am very proud of all of the candidates for Lenoir County Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023,” Williams said. “They represent all of the best qualities of truly outstanding educators with inspiring dedication to instructional excellence and unconditional commitment to doing whatever it takes to help our students to grow and to experience success now and throughout their lives.”

Hudson is in her second stint as a K-5 physical education teacher at Northwest. A magna cum laude graduate of East Carolina University with a bachelor of science in physical education, she found her first teaching position at Northwest in 2014, spent the 2017-2018 school year at the ECU Lab School and returned to Northwest in 2018.

At Northwest, she is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team and School Improvement Team and chairs the school’s Communications Team. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Athletics, Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sports Management Professionals.

“She is an extremely gifted teacher who has mastered the art of getting her students to perform for her,” Northwest principal Dr. Heather Walston wrote in her recommendation. “Her students do not want to disappoint her.”

Lindo started teaching in 2002 and came to LCPS for a three-year stint at Rochelle Middle School in 2007. She’s been at EB Frink since 2017 and currently teaches seventh-grade math. She holds a bachelor of science degree in education from Western Carolina University and a masters of arts and learning degree from Nova Southeastern University.

To her, teaching involves both imparting knowledge and motivating students to learn for life. “I believe if my classroom atmosphere is inviting, fun and safe for all students then they will be motivated to try,” she wrote in explaining her philosophy of teaching.

“She holds students to extremely high standards,” EB Frink principal Michael Moon wrote in his recommendation, “but has created a classroom culture that allows them to not only succeed but excel. She places a premium on forming meaningful relationships with her students and they respond by being highly engaged in their own learning.”

A product of Lenoir County Public Schools and a graduate of Lenoir Community College, where she earned an associate degree, Tilghman-Rouse holds a bachelor of science degree in family and community services and K-6 elementary certification from East Carolina University. She’s taught for 18 years, starting at Bynum Elementary in 2003 and moving to Northeast Elementary in 2008 when Bynum closed.

She was Bynum’s Teacher of the Year for 2007-2008. At Northeast, she has earned awards for grant writing.

A third-grade teacher, Tilghman-Rouse is known among her colleagues for her commitment to continuous learning, her willingness to take on leadership roles and her sharing nature, according to principal Rashard Curmon.

“She possesses a keen sense of what makes a great teacher and the uncanny ability to bring out the best in other teachers around her,” Curmon wrote in his recommendation. “She serves as a mentor to beginning teachers and has trained many of the first-year teachers in the building formally and informally.”

All 17 school honorees for Teacher of the Year will be honored at the Employee Recognition Banquet and winners of the 2022-2023 Principal of the Year, Teacher Assistant of the Year and Non-Certified Employee of the Year will be announced.

Teacher of the Year honorees from the district’s  schools are Stephanie Sumner, South Lenoir High; Mari Hatcher, Woodington Middle; Taylor Davis, Southwood Elementary; Kayla Varnell, North Lenoir High; Regan Crowley, Banks Elementary; Crystal Bryant, Rochelle Middle; Pauline Lindo, EB Frink Middle; Ramon Jones, La Grange Elementary; Candace Tilghman-Rouse, Northeast Elementary; Emily Peterson, Kinston High; Porsha Bell, Lenoir County Early College High School; Meredith Criswell, Contentnea-Savannah K-8; Jordan Hudson, Northwest Elementary; Sharon Dellinger, Moss Hill Elementary; Lakeysha Moore, Southeast Elementary; Lindsay Marshburn, Pink Hill Elementary; and Jonathan Huntley, Lenoir County Learning Academy.

“These dedicated teachers display every day in their classrooms why they were selected as Teacher of the Year in their schools and why they are, indeed, among the very best of the best in Lenoir County and anywhere else,” Superintendent Williams said. “Lenoir County Public Schools is very fortunate to have all of them represent our school system.” 

Photo captions:

(Above) Finalists for 2022-2023 LCPS Teacher of the Year are, from left, Jordan Hudson, Northwest Elementary; Candace Tilghman-Rouse, Northeast Elementary; and Pauline Lindo EB Frink Middle.

(Below) Teacher of the Year honorees from the district’s 17 schools are, from left, front, Stephanie Sumner, South Lenoir High; Mari Hatcher, Woodington Middle; Taylor Davis, Southwood Elementary; Kayla Varnell, North Lenoir High; Regan Crowley, Banks Elementary; Crystal Bryant, Rochelle Middle; and Pauline Lindo, EB Frink Middle; back, Ramon Jones, La Grange Elementary; Candace Tilghman-Rouse, Northeast Elementary; Emily Peterson, Kinston High; Porsha Bell, Lenoir County Early College High School; Meredith Criswell, Contentnea-Savannah K-8; Jordan Hudson, Northwest Elementary; Sharon Dillinger, Moss Hill Elementary; Lakeysha Moore, Southeast Elementary; Lindsay Marshburn, Pink Hill Elementary; and Jonathan Huntley, Lenoir County Learning Academy.

17 people, seven seated and 10 standing, pose for a photo in front of a wall earned the LCPS logo.