By Nathan Ham
Blowing Rock School’s Terri Hodges was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year in a surprise ceremony held Friday morning at the school. Hodges was presented the award by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott along with Blowing Rock and WCS central office staff.
Each year, Watauga County School celebrates its Teacher of the Year candidate with a surprise ceremony. Hodges was honored in front of the school’s students and staff who awaited her entrance in the gym.
This year marks Hodges’ fourth teacher of the year nomination since 1990, and Blowing Rock’s third-consecutive teacher of the year award.
“Blowing Rock School is a very wonderful place to get to go to school and to learn from teachers who love you, who care about you and who are experts in what they teach,” said Dr. Elliott. “Many people tell me that they moved to Watauga County and to Blowing Rock specifically because of Blowing Rock School and I hope that as you go on to Watauga High School and all throughout your lives you’ll look back on all these wonderful teachers, teachers like Mrs. Hodges, and you’ll be so happy that they dedicated their lives to educate all of you.”
Hodges earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle Grades Education from Appalachian State in 1988 and has 29 years of experience in Watauga County Schools, spending all but one year of her career in Blowing Rock School. She teaches eighth-grade math and social studies.
Blowing Rock Principal Patrick Sukow said Hodges was invaluable to the school — both as a teacher in the classroom, and a leader at large.
“Mrs. Hodges teaches with great respect,” Sukow said. “The amount of planning and hours she puts into her lesson planning each day is evident to her students, and they want to work harder themselves because of it.”
“This school is special because of who works here, and it’s special because we all care about you,” Sukow continued on, addressing the students. “There are a lot of heroes in your lives, and not all of them are professional athletes.”
Elliott said teachers like Hodges are an asset to the schools in which they teach.
“Experienced teachers, especially leaders like Mrs. Hodges, bring so much to their school,” Elliott said. “Their skills and dedication don’t just leave a mark in their own classrooms and with their own students, they do work that extends to every corner of their schools and beyond. We are lucky to have such teachers in Watauga County Schools — especially veteran teachers like Mrs. Hodges.”
Watauga County Schools Teachers of the Year are selected by their peers at each school. The Watauga County Schools District-wide Teacher of the Year is chosen through a process that includes interviews, unannounced teacher observations in classrooms, and a review of a written statement of teaching philosophy prepared by each candidate.
This year’s selection committee included Dr. Betsy Furr, Dr. Gary Childers, Eve Parsons, Preston Clarke and Jennifer Lacy.