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Erin Ellington Named Northwest North Carolina Regional Teacher of the Year

Ellington was congratulated at Mabel School by her family; husband Kemp and children Jack and Mae.

Mabel and Parkway school music teacher Erin Ellington has been named Northwest North Carolina’s Regional Teacher of the Year. The award is presented each year to a teacher from a group of educators in eight regions across North Carolina who’ve been named their school district’s Teacher of the Year. 

Ellington was named Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year in March. With her latest accolade, Ellington will now be eligible to be named the Teacher of the Year for the state of North Carolina.

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott said he was honored to have Ellington represent Watauga County Schools for the regional award.

“Mrs. Ellington’s many years of experience in multiple school communities gives her a unique perspective on the challenges and the many strengths of our wonderful public education system,” Elliott said. “She is a highly-skilled, dedicated, and enthusiastic teacher. I have witnessed first-hand many examples of her ability to lead a diverse group of learners to higher levels of achievement in a kind and loving classroom environment using her gift of music.”

Elliott said Ellington was highly-regarded among her peers and colleagues for her exceptional work and student focus.

“Mrs. Ellington’s demonstrated success has earned her the respect of her colleagues in a manner that allows her to influence the practices of many other teachers all around her.” Elliott said. “She splits her days teaching music in two different rural schools on opposite sides of a diverse county. She holds herself to a higher standard and does not make excuses for herself or her students.”

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott and school board members Ron Henries and Brenda Reece present Ellington with her award.

Elliott said Ellington’s leadership extends beyond the two schools in which she teaches. Over the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she has served as a teacher-leader and representative on the district-wide committee that oversaw the reopening of in-person learning this fall.

“To be selected at the Northwest Region Teacher of the Year is a very high honor, and she deserves every bit of it,” Elliott said. “We are honored that she will represent Watauga County Schools and our entire region moving forward.” 

Elin Reuben, Principal at Mabel School, echoed Elliott’s praise.

“Mrs. Ellington’s passion for teaching, her strong connection with her school community, and her deep understanding of the curriculum exemplify educational leadership,” Reuben said. “She loves her students, and their experiences in her classroom will impact them throughout their future endeavors. Erin embodies the positive traits of all of the excellent educators in Watauga County Schools. She is very deserving, and we are so proud of Mrs. Ellington’s accomplishment of being recognized as the Regional Teacher of the Year.”

Ellington began her career in Watauga County Schools as a teacher assistant at Hardin Park School in 2015. Currently, she teaches music at Mabel and Parkway schools. Before coming to Watauga, Ellington worked in various musical education roles in Indiana and Wake County Schools. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Ball State University and her Master’s Degree in Music Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Elliott presents Ellington with balloons as part of the ceremony naming her Northwest North Carolina Teacher of the Year.