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Teacher of Year has head for math, heart for 'honeybuns'

Woman faces camera with hand to her chest as she receives applause from the crowd behind her.

Pauline Lindo, who sees her seventh graders as individuals when it comes to teaching math but who thinks of them all as her “honeybuns” when it comes to encouraging them, is the LCPS Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023.

Lindo, who has spent the last five of her 20 years in the classroom at EB Frink Middle School, received the award Tuesday night at the district’s annual Employee Recognition Banquet. More than 200 LCPS administrators, teachers, staff and friends turned out for the event at the Lenoir County Shrine Club, celebrating the Teacher of the Year honorees from each of the district’s 17 schools and the top two classified employees for 2022-2023.

Three woman holding glass trophies pose shoulder to shoulderCalling all the nominees “true winners” for their unfailing contribution to education, Lindo told the crowd a teacher’s work largely comes down to building relationships.

“Keeping my students engaged in learning and knowing that they are in a safe environment have made an impact not only on them, but on me,” she said after receiving her award from Superintendent Brent Williams. “Every day they teach me something new. That’s why they are my honeybuns. I would like to say that I share this honor with all of them.”

A native of Jamaica, Lindo started teaching in 2002 and came to LCPS in 2007 to teach at Rochelle Middle School. She holds a bachelor of science degree in education from Western Carolina University and a master of arts and learning degree from Nova Southeastern University.

As LCPS Teacher of the Year, she will represent the district in the regional competition in December. A state Teacher of the Year is chosen from regional winners.

Lindo’s selection for the district’s top teaching honor began with the naming of the 17 school honorees last fall and, in February, interviews with a panel of judges that narrowed that field to three finalists – Lindo, Northeast Elementary third-grade teacher Candace Tilghman-Rouse and Northwest Elementary physical education teacher Jordan Hudson.

All three spoke as part of the program Tuesday night and all three emphasized the importance of connecting to students with the heart as well as with the head.

“I’ve found the best way to teach my students is by creating positive relationships with them,” Hudson said. “I make sure to try to interact with my students not only in the classroom but by showing up for them outside the classroom as well.”

In equating teaching to servant leadership, Tilghman-Rouse said, “It is imperative that before we begin any type of curriculum or instruction that we make a conscious effort to form strong relationships and bond with our students and parents. If that student knows and feels you can relate to them regardless of race, creed or economic status, they will give you the same positive energy in return.”

Lindo “connects with her students on a daily basis,” EB Frink principal Michael Moon said. “Some teachers pride themselves on having high expectations for students. Others pride themselves on building relationships. Ms. Lindo does both. She pushes her students to excel and failure is simply not an option in her classroom. She demands the best of her students every day and they respond accordingly. Her classroom is a model for what a middle school math lesson should look like,” Moon said.

Williams praised all the evening’s honorees as “passionate people who love kids and show it every day by putting their hands to this important work. They truly represent the best that education has to offer.”

Honored with the district’s top two annual awards for classified employees were Bettie Hall of South Lenoir High School, the 2022-2023 Teacher Assistant of the Year and an LCPS employee for 27 years, and Kinston High School bookkeeper Kim Clifton, the 2022-2023 Non-Instructional Classified Staff of the Year and a LCPS employee for four years. 

Photo captions (from top):

Pauline Lindo, a seventh-grade math teacher at EB Frink Middle School, reacts after being named 2022-2023 LCPS Teacher of the Year Tuesday night at the LCPS Employee Recognition Banquet.

Finalists for Teacher of the Year were, from left, Pauline Lindo, Northeast Elementary third-grade teacher Candace Tilghman-Rouse and Northwest Elementary physical education teacher Jordan Hudson.