I have the privilege of having been named the 2010-2011 Phillip J. Kirk Honored Educator Scholar. As a result of receiving this honor, I was able to attend a five-day professional development seminar at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching in Cullowhee, North Carolina. This opportunity was a highlight for me during my year as the Rowan-Salisbury School District Teacher of the Year. In addition to my week at the seminar, my honored educator scholarship covered instruction, program materials, lodging, food, transportation, and the cost of my substitute back home while I attended the seminar. I was even given a $250 stipend to use for my classroom.
The seminar I attended was invaluable to my teaching. I was immediately able to apply what I learned from NCCAT to my lesson plans. My students created annotated digital image portfolios to align with our study of Alice Walker's The Color Purple. As I watched them create these amazing projects, I reflected on the significance that spending one week of instruction, rest, and rejuvenation in the mountains of Western Carolina had on my enthusiasm for teaching. Because I was energized, my students responded accordingly. My district administrators were happy to see me applying those 21st century practices in my classroom.
I hope that as you face the difficult challenges legislators have to spend taxpayers' money wisely and responsibly, you will remember the value in investing in education. As I am also a public servant, I recognize the tremendous responsibility we have to those we serve. Please consider the value that your support for NCCAT will have for students of North Carolina whose teachers, like me, return to their classrooms revitalized and focused on the future citizens of North Carolina.