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Wake County names Teacher of the Year

A fourth grade teacher was honored Thursday night as Wake County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. Superintendent Del Burns praised the winner as a leader among educators.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A fourth-grade teacher was honored Thursday night as the Wake County Public School System’s Teacher of the Year.

Ann Quarles has been teaching for seven years, the past two at Powell Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary School of the Visual and Performing Arts.

Superintendent Del Burns praised her as a leader among teachers. Hundreds of community and education leaders who attended the event congratulated her with applause.

“Students must see themselves as learners and believe that they can learn,” Quarles said. “I believe that each child in my classroom possesses his or her own unique set of gifts and talents. It is my job to help each child build on his or her strengths to become self-directed, successful learners.”

As the Wake County Teacher of the Year, she will represent Wake County in the North Carolina Teacher of the Year competition. She succeeds Paige Elliott, a Fuquay-Varina High School teacher and the 2007 Wake County Teacher of the Year.

“In observing Ann at work in her classroom, one will quickly recognize that she has an extensive knowledge base of current educational research and practice,” said her principal, Jimmy Sposato. “She engages the children in explicit, focused and differentiated instruction that is both engaging and challenging. Ann exhibits best-practice instructional strategies and clarity of instructional purpose. Her room is covered with charts that provide a record of student learning.”

Quarles is a Teach for America alumna and has worked as a graduate teaching assistant and university supervisor at the University of Texas-Austin. She is active at her church, plays with the Raleigh Area Flute Association choir and volunteers with Urban Ministries, according to school officials.

As Teacher of the Year, she will receive:

* an engraved acrylic award
* a $50 gift certificate to the Angus Barn Restaurant
* a laptop computer and multi-function printer, compliments of Office Depot
* one-year use of a 2008 Saturn, compliments of Bill Shotwell of Saturn of Raleigh/Cary
* a travel cart filled with office supplies from Office Depot,
* a check for $1,000 from corporate sponsors
* The Dan Royster Teacher award, $1,500 toward participation in the Center for International Understanding's Global Study Program, compliments of The Center for International Understanding.

The Dan Royster Teacher award was established as a tribute and memorial to Royster, a Wake County science teacher and enthusiastic international-exchange participant. The award is funded through contributions from his family and friends.

Candidates for teacher of the year are nominated and elected by their peers. The teacher candidates develop portfolios that describe their teaching careers and philosophy of teaching.

Ten selection committees review the portfolios and narrow the field to 20 semifinalists, the school system said. The selection committees observe the semifinalists in their classrooms, and each committee chooses one teacher to be among the 10 finalists.

The finalists are interviewed by another committee. Based upon the quality of the portfolio and the interview, the schools explained, the interview committee chooses the winner by secret ballot.

* Belinda Best of Conn Elementary
* Cynthia Clavijo of West Lake Elementary
* Laura Ellen Cochrane of Highcroft Drive Elementary
* Taela George-East of Sanderson High
* Kimberly Jackson of Project Enlightenment
* Danielle McCaslin of Bugg Elementary
* Melinda Mouzzon of Knightdale High
* Susan Pullium of East Wake School of Health
* Susan Taylor of Panther Creek High.

The nine other finalists received a $250 cash prize, a travel cart of classroom and office supplies, a $50 gift certificate for the Angus Barn and an engraved acrylic award.

Each teacher received a gift bag of classroom and office supplies, a $50 to the Angus Barn gift certificate and an acrylic award.

This was the fifth year that Wachovia Bank sponsored the Wake County Teacher of the Year Award and banquet.

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