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Rachel Marcus of Helena Elementary School named 2019-2020 Person County Schools Teacher of the Year

Rachel Marcus, a fourth-grade teacher at Helena Elementary School, was named Person County Schools’ Teacher of the Year on Monday evening at the Teacher of the Year Banquet sponsored by Pierce Group Benefits in conjunction with the Person County Schools Board of Education.


Rachel Marcus with Person County Schools Board of Education Members


Marcus follows Greg Turner, French teacher from Person High School, in receiving this prestigious honor.  Rachel Marcus has a Bachelor’s Degree from Appalachian State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  She serves as the Positive Behavior and Intervention Support Co-Chair, the 4th Grade-Level Chair, Helena’s Teacher Advisory Committee Representative, and is currently leading math professional development for all of the teachers at her school.  Rachel has six years of teaching experience; all of which are at Helena Elementary School.


Rachel said, “I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude in receiving this honor of representing Person County Schools as Teacher of the Year. It is with great pleasure that I embark upon this journey of collaboration and learning with the Person County Schools family.”


Chrystal Clayton, Principal of Helena Elementary School, states, "We are excited to have Rachel Marcus represent Person County as our Teacher of the Year.  Rachel is an outstanding teacher! She has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few years as she has become more confident in her ability to develop young minds.  Students are always excited about what they are learning in their classroom and engaged in the activity. Rachel works daily to build student confidence while helping them to become critical thinkers and real-world problem solvers.  Rachel truly exhibits excellence in teaching! We are incredibly proud to have her as a part of our Helena Family."


Ms. Marcus received a monetary token of appreciation sponsored by Pierce Group Benefits, a plaque, and will go on to compete with other Teachers of the Year at the regional level.


School-level winners were nominated by their peers and had to meet the criteria set forth in the state guidelines. Also nominated were Beth Gilliam at North Elementary School and Oak Lane Elementary School, Jo Lawrence at North End Elementary School, Chelsey Johnson at Northern Middle School, Matthew West at Person Early College for Innovation & Leadership, Janet Mayo at Person High School, Kelsey Maynard at South Elementary School, Beneita Dennis at Southern Middle School, Mandy Coats at Stories Creek Elementary School, and Sabrina Crumpton at Woodland Elementary School. All school-level Teachers of the Year received a framed certificate.


Person County Schools Board Members with all school-level Teachers of the Year, Mandy Coats is not pictured


The semi-finalists for Teacher of the Year are Beth Gilliam at South Elementary School/Oak Lane Elementary School and Matthew West at Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership. Both Mrs. Gilliam and Mr. West received a monetary token of appreciation sponsored by Pierce Group Benefits.


Semi-Finalist with former PCS Teacher of the Year, Greg Turner, and NC Teacher of the Year, Freebird McKinney


Mrs. Gilliam, states, “I am proud to represent North and Oak Lane Elementary as a semi-finalist for Person County Schools’ Teacher of the year.  I am grateful to be able to share my passion for music with my students every day and I am even more thankful to be part of a school system that supports music in our schools.  Being a teacher has its challenges but it is the most rewarding profession and I am indescribably blessed and thankful.”


Mr. West, says, “Being recognized by my fellow educators in this capacity has been an overwhelmingly humbling experience.  Person County Schools hosts such an amazing population of educators, and serving amidst this group has shaped my passion for propagating generations of lifelong and passionate learners.  I am truly honored and indebted to my coworkers, administrators, and students.”


During the months of March and April, each nominee had two unannounced observations by members of the Teacher of the Year Committee.  The committee consisted of Person County’s outgoing Teacher of the Year, Person County’s outgoing Beginning Teacher of Excellence, the Curriculum and Instruction Team, the Human Resources Team, and an outside guest educator.  A twenty-minute interview session allowed the team to find out more about each teacher’s views and philosophy surrounding education.


Freebird McKinney, North Carolina Teacher of the Year 2018-2019, was the guest speaker.  The banquet was held Monday, May 6th, at the Old Country Club Steak House.


Freebird McKinney addresses those in attendance