MONROE – Union County Public Schools revealed Jan. 28 the names of the 10 finalists for Teacher of the Year.
UCPS recognizes a teacher who is not only dedicated and capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, but also establishes an environment that is conducive to the pursuit and achievement of academic excellence.
The winner will be announced April 16. These finalists were selected from a pool of 53 school-wide Teachers of the Year.
Sloop has been a physical education teacher at Antioch Elementary since 2012. A graduate of Wingate University, Sloop says she strives to build relationships with her students. With a belief that movement plays a foundational role in learning, Sloop often designs activities that integrate physical education and curriculum activities into her classroom.
Tramaine Davis is a fifth-grade teacher at East Elementary. A graduate of Johnson C. Smith and Cambridge College, Davis has taught at East Elementary since 2005. Davis believes every student has learning potential that can propel them to success. It is because of this outlook that Davis inspires her students to believe in themselves and put forth great work ethic to achieve any goal they want to reach.
Christine Marie Brent
Marvin Ridge High
Christine Marie Brent is a special education teacher at Marvin Ridge High. A graduate of James Madison University, Brent has been an educator since 1991. She believes every child has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is a teacher’s duty to allow opportunities in the classroom that help children find those strengths. By embracing and instilling differentiated approaches in her classroom, she has been able to watch her students succeed.
Jonathan Harbin is an English teacher at Monroe High. A graduate of the University of Georgia, he has been an educator since 2005. In his classroom, Harbin develops bonds with each student and encourages them to question beliefs they may take for granted or consider ideas they may not have thought about before. His hope is that students turn their daily class routine into a lifelong practice.
New Town Elementary
Ashley Hayes is an AIG teacher at New Town Elementary. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Hayes has been an educator since 2006. Ashley believes children are not only gifted in reading and/or math and should have the opportunity to explore and develop all of their talents. She aims to have a classroom environment that allows students to create meaningful products to show what they have learned and engage with authentic activities connected to their lives.
Raven Casseus is a fourth-grade teacher at Prospect Elementary. A graduate of Hofstra University, Casseus has been an educator since 2008. She believes classrooms are a haven to foster and develop opportunities for students to grow, learn about themselves and prepare for a future of lifelong learning. Her goal is to be a role model for her students and for them to look back on their time in her class as a blueprint for future goals in life.
Candace Anne Purcell
Rea View Elementary
Candace Anne Purcell is a fourth-grade teacher at Rea View Elementary. A graduate of University of Lethbridge, she has been an educator since 1998. Purcell believes that building relationships with her students helps them know she believes in them and will allow them to become their best selves. Her goal is to create a safe place for learning to take place and for students to take risks.
Rock Rest Elementary
Tricia Graham is a first-grade teacher at Rock Rest Elementary. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University, Graham has been an educator since 1997. She believes she is not only responsible for teaching curriculum-based content but is also responsible for teaching students basic life skills that will make them more successful. She builds relationships with each child and helps them to view themselves as capable learners.
Dawne Foster is a second-grade teacher at Shiloh Elementary. A graduate of East Carolina University, Foster has been an educator for 30 years. She believes it is important to form relationships with students and create a positive classroom culture of belonging. She believes these strong relationships and a sense of community in her classroom will have long-lasting and positive effects on her students.
Western Union Elementary
Jennifer Deering is a second-grade teacher at Western Union Elementary. A graduate of the University of Maine and University of New England, Deering began her teaching career in 1998. She believes that teaching is about making connections with children and helping them grow to be their best selves. It is because of this philosophy that she strives to empower her students, regardless of their ability, every day.