Celebration of Excellence 2011-12
Balloons showered Jennifer Arberg, teacher at Kiser Middle, as Guilford County Schools (GCS) named her the 2011 Teacher of Year on Tuesday. Patrice Faison, principal at Oak Hill Elementary, joined Arberg in receiving the district's highest honors as she was named Principal of the Year.
Both educators won awards totaling $1,500 at the 11th annual Celebrating Excellence in Education event, which is sponsored by Businesses for Excellence in Education.
Teacher of the Year
Arberg, who has been a sixth-grade math teacher at Kiser for four years, loves to think of new ways to introduce her students to what they may consider "not-so-exciting topics." Singing and dancing is sometimes a part of her teaching because she believes students learn more when they are having fun.
Since the days when her students were her stuffed animals as a child, Arberg has committed 15 years to education. She has taught internationally and holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Appalachian State University. At Kiser, she started the MathCounts Club, giving her students additional opportunities to build their math problem-solving skills during competitions at other middle schools and on university campuses.
"I am constantly reminding my students that life is not a multiple choice test," Arberg said. "You are going to have to make hard decisions, and a lot of struggle will be required. Hopefully by providing a safe and fun atmosphere in my classroom, this will be a place where they will learn those skills and apply them in life to be complex thinkers and problem solvers."
Along with district-wide Teacher of the Year honors, Arberg was also named the Middle School Teacher of the Year. Other winners included Jefferson Elementary teacher Deanna Cunningham, the Elementary Teacher of the Year, and Northern High teacher Janiese McKenzie, the High School Teacher of the Year. Bruce "Kirby" Young from Brown Summit Middle and Kiron Spencer, a former teacher from Eastern High who is now teaching at The Middle College at Bennett, were the remaining finalists.
Faison began her career with GCS as a third-grade teacher at Stokesdale Elementary in 1995. She received National Board Certification in 2000 and holds master's degrees in elementary education and school administration from North Carolina A&T State University. She is currently a member of the district's doctoral cohort at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
At Oak Hill, Faison says she spent time meeting with parents and community members from the beginning. She also assembled a good team of teachers and has put her trust in them.
"Showing teachers their views and opinions are appreciated, valued and respected is critical to retaining a high-quality staff," she said. "During the year, I make every attempt to show staff how much I value their effort and dedication."
Florence Elementary, Hunter Elementary, Irving Park Elementary, Joyner Elementary, Murphey Traditional Academy, Northern Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Stokesdale Elementary, Wiley Elementary
Guilford Middle, Southwest Middle, Welborn Academy of Science and Technology
Andrews High, Northern High, Ragsdale High
The Middle College at N.C. A&T