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EC Department names Teacher, Teacher Assistant of Year

Two educators lauded for their positive attitude and selfless nature are recipients of the top annual awards presented by the Exceptional Children’s Department of Lenoir County Public Schools.

Six people pose in a single line with women in middle holding a certificate.Amy Taylor of Pink Hill Elementary School is the 2022-2023 EC Teacher of the Year and Tanecia Sutton of Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School is the EC Teacher Assistant of the Year. The awards were presented Monday before EC staff from the district’s schools and the district itself during the department’s opening day activities.

In announcing the Teacher of the Year award, Vivian Roach, EC Department director, called Taylor a “model teacher. She’s always first to lend a hand or give encouragement to others.”

A fixture at Pink Hill Elementary, where she was hired in 2004 and has taught her entire career, Taylor is known for her devotion to students, Roach said. “No matter what it is, if she sees something is needed for her students, she is going to go out of her way to make it happen. You never hear this teacher complain about anything.”

 “I love my job and my students and can’t imagine doing anything else. I was super shocked and honored to have been chosen for this award,” Taylor said. 

In honoring Sutton, the EC Department bestowed accolades on someone “who works extremely hard but expects little affirmation or acknowledgement,” Roach said. “She is a team player.”

Six people pose in a single line with women in middle holding a certificate.Sutton joined LCPS seven years ago and has been at CSS for the past six. But being in one place didn’t guarantee stability during the Covid era. 

“During her time with LCPS, she has experience various staff changes, worked through Covid and assumed a leadership role in the classroom during a teacher’s extended leave. Though all of these challenges, she has remained professional, embraced change and adjusted to new ways of doing things,” Roach reported.

“I’m so thankful to work in a district that recognizes and appreciates their staff,” Sutton said. “I think of my EC team not only as co-workers but more like family. I love working at CSS and take much pride in my work.”

Superintendent Brent Williams keynoted the opening day program, welcoming EC teachers and support staff in advance of the new school year, which begins Monday.

“There’s something truly special about the EC team, at each school and in the district. You do so much that doesn’t show,” the superintendent said. “We’re in the business of taking a child where he is, how he is, where she is, how she is and helping them to improve. Isn’t that what you do? You facilitate growth.”

Photo captions (from top):

Amy Taylor of Pink Hill Elementary, EC Teacher of the Year, center, with, from left, Pink Hill principal Lee Anne Hardy, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, Superintendent Brent Williams, EC Department director Vivian Roach and Associate Superintendent Frances Herring. 

Tanecia Sutton of Contentnea-Savannah K-8 School, EC Teacher Assistant of the Year, center, with, from left, Superintendent Brent Williams, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, CSS principal Dr. Heather Walston, EC Department director Vivian Roach and Associate Superintendent Frances Herring.