Jennifer Worley is a “quiet moving force for Rosman Elementary School and her students,” according to her principal, Bob Dinsdale.
Worley, he said, is someone who doesn’t seek the spotlight but her efforts in the classroom deserve recognition.
On Tuesday, Worley was named Transylvania County Schools’ teacher of the year during a program at the library’s Rogow Room.
“From utilizing the science of reading while students discover the joy of literature, to science experiments based on proven, inquiry-based methods that allow students to learn things from plant growth to testing the luminosity of various items, she is dedicated to growing the entire child,” he said.
Worley said she felt “blessed” to be a part of the school system and to work with other teachers who she feels all excel at their roles.
“I just feel so blessed to work for Transylvania County Schools for all these years and to have such supportive parents...We have just such a caring, family-oriented community, and I think that would be the message to get out to everybody,” she said.
Also on Wednesday, Rosman Elementary’s Nikki Breeden was named the teacher assistant of the year; T.C. Henderson Elementary School’s Patrick Chapman was named principal of the year; T.C. Elementary’s Nichole Cash was media/technology person of the year; Brevard High School’s Kayla Byrd was student services person of the year; and Brevard High’s Carri Harris was the rookie of the year.
Breeden was described as “calm and loving” by Dinsdale.
“Nurturing and guiding are two needed qualities for working with 4 year olds, and she has those attitudes in spades,” he wrote in prepared comments.
Superintendent Jeff McDaris said Chapman is a lifelong resident and was a T.C. Henderson student and graduated from Rosman High School. McDaris said Chapman is “beloved by students and families” and possesses a “smile (that) is instantly reassuring and welcoming.”
McDaris said being the principal of a small school often means having to perform multiple duties.
“You might find Mr. Chapman covering a class, being a substitute school nurse, being a counselor or sounding board, being a food service specialist or even taking on an activity bus trip,” McDaris said. “It is the nature of the job and requires a special calling...I am glad and I know the community is glad that Packy Chapman answered that calling.”
The school system’s director of technology, Chris Whitlock, spoke about the difficulties the past two years have been for the school system and said Cash has filled several other roles as needed beyond the one she serves.
“Ms. Cash always seems to find a way to help and get projects completed,” Whitlock said. “She is a true team player and asset to T.C. Henderson.”
Byrd is a “driving force of positivity at BHS” and is “always willing to go above and beyond for students as well as co-workers,” said Missy Ellenberger, the director of high school curriculum and student services.
“She has a heart and a passion for the students of Transylvania County. Kayla is truly special (and) Transylvania County Schools is blessed to have such a dedicated and loving school counselor,” Ellenberger said.
In written comments read at the ceremony, Brevard High School Principal Dr. Bryan Abernethy described Harris as “a true Transylvania County Schools success story.”
“Ms. Harris always has a positive attitude and develops positive relationships with her students...She has a wealth of content knowledge, but, more importantly, understands how students learn.”
Amber Webb of First Citizens Bank, which sponsored the event, said she finds herself “in awe” of the quality of the teachers in the school system.
“You cannot properly sum up teachers and administrators’ skill sets and abilities, especially with what we’ve seen accomplished recently,” she said. “I personally feel it’s easy to say, ‘I want to be a teacher when I grow up.’..but this person stayed true to their statement...they mentioned a fire being set in them from their love of learning.”
Other individual school teacher of the year awards went to Kimberly Moore, of Brevard Elementary School; Shane Worley, of Brevard High School; Monica Schultz, of Brevard Middle School; Verna Jenkins, of Davidson River School; Jessica Ammons, of Pisgah Forest Elementary School; Tammy Hall of Rosman High School; Hazel Ketchum, of Rosman Middle School; and Linda Underwood of T.C. Henderson Elementary.
Teacher assistant of the year for each school included Sonya Morris, of Brevard Elementary; Lyndon Clayton, of Brevard High, Sierra Chase of Brevard Middle; Heather Strickler, of Pisgah Forest Elementary; Erika McCall, of Rosman High; and Vickie Ayers of T.C. Henderson.