Brunswick County Schools recognizes top educators for 2018


LELAND, NC (WWAY) – Brunswick County Schools recently announced the names of staff who have been selected as the district’s top educators of the year for their commitment to education.

The district intended to publicize the announcement in September but held off due to Hurricane Florence.

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Claire Herrington has been named the 2018 Brunswick County Schools (BCS) Teacher of the Year.

“Its been really overwhelming,” she said.

Herrington teaches third-grade science at Southport Elementary School and she’s been teaching for 10 years.

“My job is not possible without my teammates at school – the Southport Dolphin nation -and my parents and family support,” Herrington said.

Herrington said she pursued a career in education because she was always a fan of the fictional elementary school teacher, ‘Ms. Frizzle.’

“Thanks to a great administrator that saw my strength in science, now I get to be Ms. Frizzle everyday and bring science to life for my students,” Herrington said.

This year’s BCS Rookie of the Year is Natalie Gavitt, an exceptional children’s teacher at Shallotte Middle School.

“I really didn’t think it would be me so I’m really happy,” Gavitt said.

Teaching is a natural fit for her. Gavitt has a number of relatives who have been teachers including her mother and aunts.

“I love children and being able to work with them and help them,” she said. “Sometimes, being the only one who cares, it really warms your heart.”

During an interview on WWAY’s Good Morning Carolina, both Gavitt and Herrington explained why they feel state lawmakers should be focusing more on rewarding qualified teachers to keep them in the profession longer.

“North Carolina in general needs to invest in their teachers,” Herrington said. “Increasing advanced degree spending, funding and longevity pay will help us break through that glass ceiling.”

Gavitt says she has considered pursuing a master’s degree in her field but with the current pay scale for public school teachers, she says there’s little incentive.

“I was planning on getting my masters and its hard to decide whether to do that now,” Gavitt said. “There’s no recognition for a master’s in term of your pay.”

Nevertheless, Herrington and Gavitt both agree they’re thrilled with the recognition they’ve received from school district leaders and colleagues at their respective schools.

Other staff recognized this year for their service to Brunswick County Schools include:

  • BCS Principal of the Year: Dr. Rick Hessman, Belville Elementary School
  • Instructional Support Staff of the Year: Melissa Pittman, Nurse at Cedar Grove Middle School
  • Administrative Support Staff of the Year: Beth Zettlemoyer, Attendance Clerk/Student Services at West Brunswick High School
  • Operations Support Staff of the Year: Walter Mapson, Bus Driver for Lincoln Elementary, Leland Middle, and North Brunswick High School
  • BCS Instructional Assistant of the Year: John Gore, Jr, Teacher’s Assistant and Bus Driver at Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary