‘Teacher of the Week’ advocates for Wrightsboro Elementary fourth-grade students


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Before students leave for the start of their summer break, we managed to squeeze in a final school visit to recognize another exceptional “Teacher of the Week.”

Beth Sanford teaches fourth-grade students at Wrightsboro Elementary School (WES). Sanford says tries to spark new interests and make her students feel successful and proud.

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She’s about to complete her third year of teaching at the Wilmington school. In her short career, she’s already learned the importance of relating to her students both in and out of class.

“I want to be more than a teacher to them, I want them to know when they leave my class they can still come to me no matter how old they are or what grade they’re in,” she said. “I still have some kids now in seventh grade that will email me still and it’s great!”

Sanford realized at a young age she wanted to teach, in part, due to a cousin with autism. That ignited a passion within her to try to make her classroom as inclusive as possible.

“I want to advocate for people who are different or you know have those diversities and make them feel accepted and let them know they don’t have to feel different,” and she added, “They don’t have to feel alone.”

A viewer who nominated Sanford said she’s known for advocating on behalf her students.

“Like making sure if they need extra help or services that they get that help and not just in the classroom but in the community, too,” she said.

When Assistant Principal Luis Cruz escorted us to Sanford’s classroom, she had no clue why we were there.

“I was so shocked,” she said. “Even my kids were looking at me like — what is happening right now?”

Cruz says Sanford is one of many great teachers at the school.

“She’s one of our rock stars, Cruz said. “We want to bring people in here to see her classroom, to see what she’s doing, she’s one of our gems.”

So what does Sanford think about being WWAY and Mattress and Furniture Liquidators’ Teacher of the Week?

“It makes me feel so proud, I’m trying not to cry,” she said. “I appreciate it so much. I’m so proud of them because I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing and I wouldn’t be who I am without them.”

Since Sanford is the last teacher we’ll recognize for the 2018-19 school year, we’d like you to cast your vote for the best Teacher of the Year we’ve featured this year.

The top vote getter will receive a $200 gift card. Click here to cast your vote. Voting ends Sunday at midnight. We’ll announce the winner Tuesday on WWAY News at 6 p.m. Good luck!