RALEIGH — In a ceremony held on April 1 at the Umstead Hotel in Cary, Leah Carper, an English teacher at Northern Guilford High School, was named the 2022 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.
Carper takes over for Eugneia Floyd, a fourth-grade teacher at Mary Scroggs Elementary School in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, who was named the 2021 Teacher of the Year.
In her speech announcing the winner, N.C. State Superintendent Catherine Truitt highlighted Carper’s strong student engagement both in her classroom and virtually during the pandemic.
“It takes a special teacher to understand what really interests and motivates high school students,” Truitt said, “and it’s clear that Leah has found a way into their world that makes learning fun, engaging and effective. She’s very deserving of this important recognition.”
In her application submission for Teacher of the Year (TOY), Carper wrote “When it comes to teaching, I’m going to do what works for my students. Sometimes that means dressing up in silly costumes. Other times it’s selecting reading materials that appeal to their interests, experiences and ideals.”
Being named TOY comes with responsibilities and perks. Carper will travel across the state during the next school year as an “ambassador for the teaching profession” and will take part in a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
The perks include a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, an engraved vase, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, a prize pack and opportunity to be honored during a football game from NC State Athletics, and support from No Kid Hungry NC. As TOY, there will also be a chance to travel abroad via an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC.
Carper will also get a cash awards; one in the amount of $7,500, another for $2,000 from Flow Honda to help with travel costs as TOY, and $1,000 from Bojangles.
Carper was first recognized this school year as teacher of the year at both her school and district.
The other regional finalists included Clinton Todd, J.H. Rose High (Pitt County Schools). Abbey Nobles, New Hanover High (New Hanover County Schools). Brian Link, East Chapel Hill High (Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools), Elizabeth Santamour, East Hoke Middle (Hoke County Schools), Ashtyn Berry, W.R. Odell Elementary (Cabarrus County Schools), Ashley Bandy, Newton-Conover High (Newton-Conover City Schools), Ryan Mitchell, Mills River Elementary (Henderson County Public Schools), and Keegan Storrs, Roxboro Community School.