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Pitt County Schools teacher named NCCAT Career & Technical Teacher of the Year

Kurt Garner

CULLOWHEE – Kurt Garner, a business teacher at J.H. Rose High School in Pitt County Schools, was named the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2023 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 19, 2023.

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

The 2023-24 school year will mark Mr. Garner’s sixth on the Rose staff and 17th in the PCS system. Garner's appointment at JHR in August 2018, which includes instruction in computer engineering, programming, and Microsoft Office, followed 11 years at D.H. Conley High School, where he taught in a similar capacity beginning in 2007. In addition to his selection as PCS Teacher of the Year in 2011, Garner was honored as the North Carolina Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Adviser of the Year in 2016. He currently serves on the organization's state executive board. He is also an adviser for the National Technical Honor Society and has held membership in the National Business Education Association since 2005.

A former student said Garner taught her countless things about succeeding in business and the real world. She noted, "Without his continuous support, motivation, and drive to impact every student's life, I truly do not know where hundreds of students would be. This student concluded by sharing, "As an education major, I constantly think about what I want to be like as a teacher. I am always thinking about what I will be like standing in front of my classroom, teaching, and trying to make an impact on my students' lives. Truthfully, if I can be even half the educator Mr. Garner is, I can make an impact like no other."

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

"What is unique about Mr. Garner and all the finalists is that not only are they incredibly talented in their field and in the way they inspire students, but they also care about their community," Womble said. "CTE teachers across our state impact students and families meaningfully while helping students gain real-world experience. Meeting all the finalists this week was a pleasure for the NCCAT staff. All of them are outstanding. We appreciate everyone who made this week and event possible to honor the teaching profession."

The runner-up is Barnanne Creech, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Zebulon Gifted & Talented Magnet Middle School teacher in the Wake County Public School System. Creech serves in multiple leadership roles, from teacher mentor and department chair to school improvement chair. She shares and leads monthly district PLC meetings. A parent noted that Creech helped her son create and hold a fishing camp in the community to teach kids the fundamentals of fishing due to constant encouragement and extraordinary efforts. The parent shared that her son is now a confident speaker and presenter, winning multiple awards at competitions and serving in numerous leadership capacities.

The NCCAT 2023 NC CTE Teacher of the Year finalists are:



Joseph (Joe) Miciotto

Alamance-Burlington Schools

Dewayne Krege

Avery County Schools

Andrea Gladden

Burke County Public Schools

Brittany Childers

Cabarrus County Schools

Hollie Schratwieser

Camden County Schools

Mikie Broadhurst

Carteret County Schools

Chadwick (Chad) Rorie

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Bobbie Jones

Clay County Schools

Ashley McCullen

Cumberland County Schools

John Spillman

Davidson County Schools

Casey Spear

Edenton-Chowan Public Schools

Kim Osborne

Guilford County Schools

Rob Jones

Harnett County Schools

Mario Malabunga

Hoke County Schools

Kim Williams

Jackson County Schools

Matthew Barnhill

Johnston County Schools

Jay Campbell

New Hanover County Schools

Sheri Hale

Pamlico County Schools

Kurt Garner

Pitt County Schools

Candace Grimsley

Public Schools of Robeson County

Heather McNeely

Transylvania County Schools

Thomas (T.J.)   


Union County Schools

Barnanne Creech

Wake County Public Schools

Thelma Kastl

Wilkes County Schools


Guest speakers for the evening included Peyton Holland (Executive Director, National Technical Honor Society), Missy Swain (NCCAT 2022 CTE Teacher of the Year and CTE Director for Perquimans County Schools), and Josiah Young (2023 North Carolina CTE U.S. Presidential Scholar).

The NCCAT Career & Technical Teacher of the Year process was developed to honor teachers 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

Instructional supply funds for the teacher's school

Three-year membership in NCACTE

Participation in the national ACTE Conference and serve as the NC ACTE TOY representative.


$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


Burroughs Wellcome Fund

iCEV Multimedia

Participate Learning


Branching Minds


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Air Purification Inc.

Campbell Shatley, PLLC

Care Solace

Farm Bureau- Ag in the Classroom

Dr. June Atkinson

National Geographic | Cengage

North Carolina Education Lottery

Paxton Patterson


Schwartz Law, PLLC

Special Thanks

Steering Committee, Career & Technical Teacher of the Year

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

NCCAT Board of Trustees