This year’s Newton-Conover City Schools Teacher of the Year Banquet, held at Market on Main, honored some of our district’s hard-working teachers for their extended efforts to achieve in the classroom.
N-CCS Teacher of the Year, Leah Hayes
This year, our N-CCS Teacher of the Year was Mrs. Leah Hayes! Also the Teacher of the Year for South Newton Elementary School, Leah has been teaching for 16 years and has spent the last 3 years of her career at South Newton. She attended South Newton as an elementary school student. She began her career teaching students who were hearing impaired. She says that her greatest accomplishment in teaching is her ability to teach children to read. She is an avid reader who reads while brushing her teeth and while stopped at stop
lights, so bringing the pleasure of reading to her students is a joy for her. She has served in many leadership roles at South Newton as well as in her church. She strives to find the genius in every student, no matter what that genius looks like.
Beginning Teacher of the Year, Ashley Flowers
Our Beginning Teacher of the Year was Mrs. Ashley Flowers! Ashley entered education last year as a second-career teacher. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree, and currently teaches Career and Technical Education at Newton-Conover High School. Needless to say, Ashley has made waves since she began her teaching career here in N-CCS, and has even become a teacher-leader at N-CHS, helping her peers to learn how to use Canvas in their classroom among other things.
Mr. John Robinson, Principal at Discovery High School, is our Principal of the Year for N-CCS. John has been at Discovery High School for several years, and has been instrumental in the continual growth and success of the school’s mission to empower its students to make a difference in others’ lives as well as their community. Mr. Robinson is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education Degree from Appalachian State University and was not able to be present at the banquet.
In addition to Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Flowers, our Teachers of the Year by school were:
Keesha Houston is the Teacher of the Year for Conover School. She has taught Preschool for 3 years. Teaching has always been part of her life. Growing up, her mom was a preschool teacher, and Keesha remembers playing school as a kid in her bedroom with her dolls and stuffed animals. Church is a huge part of Keesha’s life, and yes, she works with the toddlers and preschoolers there as well! Keesha serves on the School Improvement Team. She views preschool as a vital part of the educational journey that every student takes because every high school senior was once a 3, 4, or 5 year old.
Christina Recker is the Teacher of the Year for North Newton Elementary School. Christina is beginning her third year of teaching at North Newton although she has 7 years of teaching experience. As a child, Christina would sit at the kitchen table with pens and stickers and regrade all of her papers from school. She serves in many leadership roles at North Newton but states her greatest accomplishment is the relationship that she creates with her students. She attends community events and once took a group of her students to a Hickory Crawdads game so they could be recognized for their academic excellence and improvement. She states the purpose of education is to spark an interest in the minds of students so that they can continue on in the world with a thirst to know more. She strives for her students to be the very best versions of themselves in every sense!
Lynette Ryhal is the Teacher of the Year for Shuford Elementary School. Lynette has been teaching for 10 years and has spent that entire time teaching various grade levels at Shuford. Her says that she is typically behind the scenes creating morale boosters for the staff and that her greatest accomplishments come from impacting her students’ lives in a positive way. She is a very active member of her church and loves being involved in her community because it has given her a deeper understanding of her students’ backgrounds. She is life-long learner and says that the day she thinks she has it all figured out is the day that she stops growing as an effective teacher.
Kristy Smith is the Teacher of the Year for Newton-Conover Middle School. A graduate of Appalachian State University, Kristy has spent her teaching career teaching 4th and 6th graders. She has been at Newton-Conover Middle for the past four years. Kristy remembers being 9 years old and subjecting her four year old sister to daily lessons so that she would be ready for Kindergarten. Kristy is very involved in her church and religion. Kristy’s philosophy of teaching is to teach from the heart, raise expectations, and make connections. She is a lifelong learner and has led at the middle school in a variety of ways.
Joanne Chase is the Teacher of the Year for Newton-Conover High School. She has taught for 9 years. She has taught English and Special Education for the past 8 years at NCHS. Joanne spent 20 years working for a lawyer who specialized in children’s issues and then moved on to work with birth mothers and adoptive parents who were going through private adoptions. In 2005 she went back to college so that she could teach. Not only is Joanne actively involved in her church, but she has also organized a quilting group that creates and donates quilts to shut-ins, new mothers, or those in nursing homes. Joanne is an advocate for students and says her main goal is preparing students to be productive, competent citizens.
We are so proud of our outstanding teachers and the work that they are doing to make a difference in our students’ lives every day!