MeckEd, a nonprofit supporting public education in Charlotte, recognized 20 “Teachers of Excellence” at a fundraising dinner Tuesday night.
Coretta Wilson of Alexander Graham Middle School, received the 2015 Paul Jackson Award, named for an exemplary Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher and band director who died in 2012.
The CMS teachers were nominated by their principals and received gift cards and other awards donated by MeckEd sponsors.
Bill Anderson, executive director of MeckEd, and CMS superintendent Ann Clark emphasized the importance of recruiting new teachers and respecting the profession’s role in democracy.
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“How many times when you hear somebody say ‘my daughter’s thinking about being a teacher’ or ‘I’m thinking about being a teacher’ and somebody goes ‘Really? Aw, you’re going to do that for that little bit of money and not get the respect for it?’” Anderson said.
“Let’s turn that story. There is no profession more important.”
Wilson specifically requested a class of male students who had struggled with school in the past.
“She has not given up on them,” said Alexander Graham’s principal, Robert Folk.
Folk praised Wilson’s energy and equal treatment of her students.
“I’m thinking five or six years down the road while most of my students can’t see beyond lunch,” Wilson said. “I know what’s out there and I want them to be a part of it.”
Wilson said knowing many of her students are disadvantaged pushes her to work with them until they succeed.
“I want them to put me out of a job,” she said. “I want them to be so motivated to learn that if I didn’t show up, they would figure it out.”
Three of Wilson’s students surprised her onstage with bear hugs.
Seventh-grader Cario Walker dissolved into giggles at the microphone. Wilson put her arm around him and prompted him to introduce himself.
Finally, words came.
“She’s the best teacher in the world, I swear,” Walker said.
MeckEd’s 2015 Teachers of Excellence
The other 19 “Teachers of Excellence” are:
Meredith Barton-Metzger, Albemarle Road Middle
Courtney Frank, Carmel Middle
Sarita Gonzales, J.M Alexander Middle
Marsha Graddy, Beverly Woods Elementary
Kristen Hager, Matthews Elementary
Drew Hammill, Phillip O. Berry Academy
Chelsea Harley, Berryhill School
Ursula Harris, Idlewild Elementary
Franswa Hill, Tuckaseegee Elementary
Madison Hipp, Hopewell High
Krystil Irvin, Crestdale Middle
April Isbell, East Mecklenburg High
Jennifer Kershaw, Grand Oak Elementary
Courtney Kowalski, Windsor Park Elementary
Sarah Lack, Mint Hill Middle
Carman Le, Huntersville Elementary
Lorrie Thurston, McKee Road Elementary
Kris Wazaney, Bailey Middle
Alisa Wright-Yasurek, South Charlotte Middle