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Currituck County teacher named NCCAT Career & Technical Teacher of the Year

Missy Swain

CULLOWHEE –  Missy Swain, from Currituck County Schools, was named the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2022 Career & Technical Education (CTE) Teacher of the Year in a special ceremony at the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of Western Carolina University Thursday, October 6, 2022.

The award was presented for the first time with finalists from across the state in attendance.

Swain is described as a teacher who makes sure that her classroom is a place where students have success. A parent shared that Swain is an amazing person and teacher who has shared her gifts and talents with children. The parent added, “They are better people for having known her and for having learned from her. I am extremely grateful to her for what she has done and continues to do not only for my children but our community.” Ms. Swain was selected as a National Association of Agicultural Educators (NAAE) National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, her agricultural program has just been recognized as a gold star National Chapter (awarded to the top 1% of FFA chapters in the country).

A former student noted about Swain; she is a wonderful educator, and more importantly, a wonderful person. I would simply not be the person I am today without her guidance and enthusiastic support.

NCCAT is thankful for the opportunity to celebrate the teaching profession, according to NCCAT Executive Director Dr. M. Brock Womble.

"Educators like Ms. Swain embody what it means to be a teacher,” Womble said. “NCCAT salutes Ms. Swain as well as all the teachers being acknowledged at the NCCAT 2022 Career & Technical Education Teacher of the Year Ceremony. The nominees for NCCAT Career and Technical Teacher of the Year are an incredibly distinguished group of educators who are inspiring the next generation to fill the skills gap in the current workforce. On behalf of NCCAT, I extend my congratulations and appreciation to this year’s honorees, as they all continue to embrace innovative teaching methods that will develop the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow. We appreciate all who made this possible.”

The runner-up is Robert Ballard a teacher with Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. A few comments shared about Mr. Ballard: “I have not been around a more passionate and caring person when it comes to their students succeeding.” and “He ignites enthusiasm for learning, collaborates with community stakeholders, and prepares his students to be job ready in the automotive industry.” Through partnerships Ballard organized a racing program connected with Chapel Hill High School and NASCAR. Senior students have worked towards receiving an official NASCAR pit crew license.

The NCCAT 2022 NC CTE Teacher of the Year finalists are:

Finalist Name District
Nicholas Anders Alamance Burlington School System
Dustin Haigler Burke County Public Schools
Patricia McTigue Cabarrus County Schools
Jennifer Barclift Camden County Schools
Robert Ballard Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
Cathy Sutton Cherokee Central Schools
Venetia Mann Clinton City Schools
Missy Swain Currituck County Schools
Jennifer Kovacs Dare County Schools
Jesse Ledbetter Davie County Public Schools
John Corey Keffer Duplin County Schools
Maria Styers Franklin County Schools
Emily Hardy Greene County Schools
Gary Blackwell Henderson County Public Schools
Mary Lee Tosky Hickory City Public Schools
Denise Cummings Hoke County Schools
Christyn Boston Lincoln County Schools
Bradley Kidd Moore County Schools
Renee Parkman Mooresville Graded School District
Ken Brown Onslow County Schools
Chauncey Barber Polk County Schools
Sarah Moore Randolph County Schools
Sandra Tyndall Wake County Public Schools
Nicole Robinson Yancey County Schools

Guest speakers for the evening included Jeff McDaris (Superintendent of Transylvania County Schools and Co-Chair of the CTE Teacher of the Year Steering Committee), Marty Tobey (Assistant Director for CTE Regional Services and Reporting at NC DPI), John Kirkman (Executive Director of NC ACTE, and member of the steering committee), Dr. Karen Sumner (NCCAT Deputy Executive Director), Kristie VanAuken (Special Advisor to the Superintendent- Workforce Engagement), Trey Michael (Senior Director of the Office of Career and Technical Education- NC DPI), Richard Schwartz (President of the Development Foundation of NCCAT, Inc. Board of Directors) and Dr. Kim Winter, the Dean of the College of Education and Allied Professions at Western Carolina University on behalf of WCU Chancellor Dr. Kelli Brown.

The NCCAT Career & Technical Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor who are the future of education in North Carolina.  Information about the program is online at

The NCCAT CTE Teacher of the Year will receive:

$5,000 cash prize

Participation for the winner in the national and state ACTE conference

Instructional supply funds for the teacher's school

Three-year membership in NCACTE


$2,000 cash prize

Three-year membership in NCACTE

Finalists will receive

Travel expenses and substitute cost for regional finalists to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.

One year membership in NCACTE



Participate Learning


Connection IT


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Branching Minds




Paxton Patterson

BridgeTek Solutions

iCEV Multimedia

Farm Bureau- Ag in the Classroom

Pearson, Savvas, and NCCER as 1 sponsor

Schwartz Law, PLLC

Burroughs Wellcome Fund

National Geographic Learning | Cengage

NextWave TEK

Special Thanks

Steering Committee, Career & Technical Teacher of the Year

Board of Directors, The Development Foundation of NCCAT, Inc.

NCCAT Board of Trustees