Mabel and Parkway School Music teacher Erin Ellington was named Watauga County Schools district-wide Teacher of the Year on May 14 in a surprise — and appropriately socially distanced — visit to her home.
Ellington was presented the award on her front porch by Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, and was joined by her family, neighbors, WCS Central Services staff and outgoing Teacher of the Year Mitchell Wright who cheered Ellington on from her front yard.
Each year, Watauga County Schools celebrates its Teacher of the Year winner with a surprise ceremony. Thanks to the coordination of her family, Ellington became the first teacher of the year to be awarded at her home rather than in a classroom or school assembly.
Mabel School Principal Elin Reuben said Ellington was a student-focused educator who is completely dedicated to the success of her students.
“Erin Ellington is an exceptional educator who is student centered, inspires her fellow teachers and embodies what it means to be an educator,” Reuben said.
Parkway School Principal Patty Buckner echoed Reuben.
“Mrs. Ellington creates fun and engaging classes where every student is successful regardless of their musical ability,” Buckner said. “Whether she is teaching a class, working with her chorus, or directing our school musical, Mrs. Ellington gives everything she has to the task at hand. Her unique ability to deliver rich content in such a fun, creative way is the reason why she is Watauga County’s Teacher of the Year.”
Elliott said he was proud to call teachers like Ellington his colleagues.
“Our Watauga County Schools teachers make up a truly remarkable group of educators,” Elliott said. “Every day, Mrs. Ellington’s positive attitude, skill and ability as a teacher has a tremendous impact on her students and colleagues alike. It is the highest honor to be selected by your peers to represent them as a teacher of the year and Mrs. Ellington’s passion and dedication to her students has well and truly earned her that high honor.”
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 Watauga High School Principal Chris Blanton, last year’s Teacher of the year Mitchell Wright, School Board Vice Chair Brenda Reese, WCS Testing and Accountability Director Waybne Eberle and outgoing Rookie Teacher of the Year Kari Riddle.