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Edneyville's Staton is named county's top beginning teacher

Edneyville Elementary principal Marsha Justice and schools Superintendent John Bryant surprised Haley Staton with Beginning Teacher honor along with administrators Wendy Frye and Scott Rhodes.

Described as an emerging rock star in teaching, Haley S. Staton, an exceptional children teacher at Edneyville Elementary School, is Henderson County Public Schools’ nominee for the 2022 North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching Beginning Teacher of the Year recognition.

A homegrown educator who grew up in Henderson County, Staton was surprised Thursday, when Superintendent John Bryant and other members of the district’s leadership team joined Edneyville principal Marsha Justice to deliver the honor.

“My school community here at Edneyville has shown me so much love and support, and for them, I am so thankful," Staton said. "I am honored to be Henderson County Public Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year and I look forward to many more fun-filled years here in Henderson County! I love getting to come to work every day and celebrate my students’ victories, both big and small."

In speaking about Staton’s enthusiasm and love for the teaching profession, Justice said, “Ms. Staton has high expectations for all of her students and she differentiates learning support for each of them. She provides a welcoming, respectful classroom that is conducive to learning. (Staton) evidences leadership habits in her professional and personal life. I would hire 100 Haley Statons if I could. She is a rock star!”

Jennifer Shelton, the school system's director of exceptional children education, said, “Ms. Staton’s classroom is structured and engaging with a strong sense of community that she builds with her students and staff. Her willingness to do whatever it takes to support her students is evident in all she does. She is focused on helping her students reach the high expectations she sets for each of them.”

A graduate of West Henderson High School, Staton earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Teaching and Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is engaged to be married in October.

Developed in 2019 by the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), the “North Carolina Prudential Beginning Teacher of the Year” award honors beginning teachers and aims to retain educators who show promise as excellent education leaders in North Carolina public schools. Principals from each of HCPS’ 23 schools nominate beginning teachers, and the Curriculum and Instruction staff select the overall district winner along with input from other stakeholders with knowledge of the various nominees’ work performance.

Staton, along with 26 other regional finalists for the 2022 NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year award, will next attend a celebration and week of Teacher Leadership at NCCAT’s Cullowhee campus from Feb. 14-18, 2022. The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year Selection Committee will review portfolios and interview all of the finalists.

The 2022 NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year winner will be announced at a celebration event on Feb. 17. The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year receives a $5,000 cash prize, participation in a GoGlobal NC trip, instructional supply funds for the teacher's school, and a diamond bracelet from Diamonds Direct. The runner-up will receive a $2,000 cash prize and all finalists receive travel expenses to participate in NCCAT professional development and leadership development.