MONROE – A couple of times during his acceptance speech as Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year, Jonathan Harbin turned his back to the audience April 16 to shake off the emotion of the moment.
Those two instances came when he was talking about his wife and his students.
“I couldn’t do what I do without those kids. If you saw those kids and how proud they are and–” he said, before interrupting his trailing, trembling words with a shimmy. “Just how amazing those kids are.”
Harbin, an educator since 2005, teaches English at Monroe High.
“The teachers at Monroe are unbelievable every day,” he said. “Anybody who has ever had a chance to see them work – absolutely amazing.”
In announcing the 10 finalists for this year’s award, UCPS noted how Harbin develops bonds with students and encourages them to consider other ideas.
Others considered for district teacher of the year were Cassie Sloop, Antioch Elementary; Tramaine Davis, East Elementary; Christine Marie Brent, Marvin Ridge High, Ashley Hayes, New Town Elementary; Raven Casseus, Prospect Elementary; Candace Anne Purcell, Rea View Elementary; Tricia Graham, Rock Rest Elementary; Dawne Foster, Shiloh Elementary; and Jennifer Deering, Western Union Elementary.