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Wake County names its Teacher of the Year

Elizabeth Plotkin, a kindergarten teacher at Fuller Magnet Elementary, was honored Thursday night as the Wake County Public School System’s Teacher of the Year.

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Elizabeth Plotkin
RALEIGH, N.C. — Elizabeth Plotkin, a kindergarten teacher at Fuller Magnet Elementary, was honored Thursday night as the Wake County Public School System’s Teacher of the Year.

Plotkin has been teaching for four years, all at Fuller Magnet Elementary. During the year, she is the facilitator for the kindergarten professional learning team at the school.

Plotkin has also volunteered to work with youth through her church and speak to students in the Education Program at Meredith College.

In addition, Plotkin works with Fuller staff and the parent teacher association to prepare meals and host sessions for the school’s bi-monthly family nights.

Plotkin said teaching is more than a job.

“My goals as a teacher is to provide opportunities for children to make positive memories in the school environment, to build a foundation of finding joy in learning, and to claim each day as a chance to be the change in a child’s life,” said Plotkin.

Principal Chris Scott says Plotkin serves as the chair of the school’s Positive Behavior Support Committee and is on the Student Support Team.

“She has empowered teachers with realistic strategies to anticipate, pre-correct and respond to student behaviors,” said Scott.

As the Wake County Teacher of the Year, she will represent Wake County in the North Carolina Teacher of the Year competition. She succeeds Rene Herrick, a teacher Combs Elementary School, who was the 2009 Wake County Teacher of the Year.

As Teacher of the Year, she will receive:

  • an engraved acrylic award
  • a Netbook laptop computer and an all-in-one printer compliments of Office Depot and Hewlett Packard
  • a travel cart filled with various classroom and office supplies compliments of Sonya Reid and Chuck Griffin of Office Depot as well as Mechel Murdaugh of Hewlett Packard
  • a check for $ 1,000 compliments of corporate sponsors
  • The Dan Royster Teacher award, $2,000 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 24 semifinalists, the school system said. The selection committees observe the semifinalists in their classrooms, and each committee chooses one teacher to be among the 12 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.

The other finalists for this year’s award were:

  • Carole Barber of Fuquay-Varina High
  • Douglas Steve Clark of West Lake Elementary
  • Margaret Feldman of Salem Middle
  • Paul Bissell Graves of Daniels Magnet Middle
  • Breanna Harrill of Athens Drive High
  • Jennifer Hunter of North Forest Pines Elementary
  • Christina Rudd of Cary High
  • James Ryan of Knightdale High
  • Davida Tatum of Harris Creek Elementary
  • Alice Verstrat of Garner Magnet High
  • Carol Wooten of Hunter Magnet Elementary

The 11 other finalists received a $250 cash prize, a travel cart of classroom and office supplies and an engraved acrylic award.

This is the seventh year that Wachovia Bank has sponsored the Wake County Teacher of the Year Award and banquet.



Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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