Education

MeckEd honors 20 Teachers of Excellence for classroom leadership

Coretta Wilson, the 2015 Paul Jackson Award winner, celebrates with her students Cario Walker, left, Jacoby Thompson and Marcha Simmons on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
Coretta Wilson, the 2015 Paul Jackson Award winner, celebrates with her students Cario Walker, left, Jacoby Thompson and Marcha Simmons on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

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.

“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.

Wester: 704-358-5169

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

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