MONROE – Superintendent Andrew Houlihan, cabinet staff and school board members revealed 10 finalists for Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year on Jan. 27 by visiting the nominees at their schools.
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 conducive to academic excellence.
The district will reveal the winner at an April 28 banquet.
The following finalists came from a pool of 53 school-wide winners:
• Lindsey Weycker – The English teacher at Cuthbertson High is teaching students to value the written and spoken word. Her classroom culture is centered around helping develop skills to think, read, listen and speak critically.
• Dareion Malone – The choral music teacher at Marvin Ridge High helps students sharpen their leadership skills through a structure designed to include student voice in their learning experience and music curriculum.
• Coleen Owens – The eighth-grade language arts teacher at the Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle works to create an environment for students that promotes thinking and encourages them to make choices.
• Tiffany Medford – The studio arts teacher at Piedmont High helps students build networking opportunities, share their work and learn new skills. She hopes her lessons will help students uncover hidden talents.
• Ashley Puscheck – The fourth-grade teacher at Prospect Elementary encourages her students to have a growth mindset, uplifts and reminds them of their leadership qualities, and encourages collaboration.
• Christina Worrall – The fifth-grade teacher at Sandy Ridge Elementary encourages students to build relationships with each other. She allows students to make decisions and finds extension activities to grow students at every level.
• Erika Murray – The kindergarten teacher at Sardis Elementary prioritizes emotional well-being, helps students learn the value of hard work and creates an environment that fosters free expression, creativity and innovation.
• Kimberly Castner – The fourth-grade teacher at Stallings Elementary strives to make learning interactive and engaging while encouraging students to use creativity as often as possible.
• Jenna Sweet – The AIG teacher at Weddington Middle believes students thrive in an environment built upon respect and meaningful relationships. She creates an inclusive atmosphere of risk-taking, goal-setting and differentiation.
• Martin Hughes – The fifth-grade teacher at Western Union Elementary uses student feedback to personalize lessons, encourages learning through a global lens and builds strong relationships with students.