North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year named at awards ceremony 

RALEIGH — Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools English teacher Kimberly Jones was named the 2023 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a luncheon held at The Umstead Hotel in Cary on April 14.  

Jones was also named teacher for her school and district and replaces the 2022 Teacher of the Year, Leah Carper, an English teacher at Northern Guilford High School.  

“Every school needs a Mrs. Jones,” State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said. “It’s obvious that students thrive in her classes, and that she makes things happen for the better in her school. I look forward to the contributions she’ll be making across North Carolina as state Teacher of the Year.” 

“Congratulations to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Teacher of the Year – an inspiration to students and a voice for educators,” said Dr. Lou Muglia, president and CEO of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. “The passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to students’ success is a testament to the profound impact that great teachers have on shaping our future generations. We look forward to collaborating with the 2023 North Carolina Teacher of the Year and the regional finalists.” 

“Despite significant financial and professional development investment from school districts via curriculum adoptions and increased access to technology, Black and Brown students have yet to reach parity in achievement levels with their White peers,” Jones said in her application for NCTOY.  “I have committed myself to learning more about the systemic inequities and pedagogical barriers within school and community environments that contribute to the disparity.” 

Outside the classroom, Jones serves as an equity team leader for her school and on the district’s instructional planning team.

On the issue of diversity among teachers, Jones said in her submission she believes “it’s imperative for all students to see themselves and their identities positively reflected in their learning … Students of color need and deserve to have educators who look like them as positive factors in their formal education, and White students also deserve to have educators that reflect the diverse world in which they will be building their futures.” 

Jones has previously served as a lead teacher for the school’s English 10 professional learning community and was an area coordinator for Governor’s School West, where she also taught for 12 years. 

As North Carolina Teacher of the Year (NCTOY), Jones will travel the state during the 2023-24 school year as an “ambassador for the teaching profession.” 

Perks of being named NCTOY include attending a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), receiving a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, an engraved vase, and a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp. 

The NCTOY also receives a prize pack and opportunity to be honored during a football game from NC State Athletics,  

Various monetary awards bestowed on the NCTOY include a cash award of $7,500, another $2,500 from Flow Honda to assist with travel costs in the state as Teacher of the Year, and $1,000 from Bojangles and the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC.  

Additionally, each of the nine finalists for this year’s NCTOY award will also receive a $250 Amazon gift card from No Kid Hungry. 

The other regional finalists who vied for the award were: 

  • Northeast: Casey Schulte, Bath Elementary (Beaufort County Schools) 
  • Sandhills: Teena Robinson, Mineral Springs Elementary (Richmond County Schools) 
  • Northwest: Shea Bolick, South Caldwell High (Caldwell County Schools) 
  • Piedmont-Triad: Tiffany Wynn, Thomasville Middle (Thomasville City Schools) 
  • Southeast: Laura Wilson, Roger Bell New Tech Academy (Craven County Schools) 
  • Western: Rachael Ray, Madison High (Madison County Schools) 
  • Southwest: Rachel Frye, East Lincoln High (Lincoln County Schools) 
  • Charter School: Ryan Henderson, Sugar Creek Charter School 

North Carolina began honoring outstanding teachers through its Teacher of the Year program in 1970. 


About A.P. Dillon 1287 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_