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County honors teacher of the year

Rugby Middle School teacher Katie McCrary was honored as Henderson County's 2018 teacher of the year on Friday. [PHOTO BY MITSY JONES] Rugby Middle School teacher Katie McCrary was honored as Henderson County's 2018 teacher of the year on Friday. [PHOTO BY MITSY JONES]

Growing up in Henderson County, Katie McCrary didn’t dream of being a teacher. She loved the theatre and hoped to be a director. After graduating with a B.A. in theatre from Greensboro College and earning an M.F.A. in directing from the University of Southern Mississippi, she worked in the education departments at regional theatre companies from Massachusetts to Mississippi. But teaching came organically to McCrary, whose mother and father are both retired Henderson County public school teachers. By all accounts, she made the right decision. On Friday, at a luncheon sponsored by Park Ridge Health, McCrary was honored as the county’s 2018 Teacher of the Year.
After receiving her teacher certification from Western Carolina University, McCrary began her teaching career as a teacher’s assistant in 2011. In 2013, she became a teacher. She teaches seventh grade Language Arts at Rugby Middle School.
School system Superintendent Bo Caldwell shared a quote from a fellow administrator regarding McCrary: “There is a passion for every student in the classroom, high expectations that every student has the ability to achieve and the guidance to help them reach their achievements. The Teacher of the Year communicates with students respectively, building positive relationships that are based on genuine interest and care.”
As she received her award she thanked her fellow educators.

“I love being a part of Henderson County," she said. "I grew up here and I see some of my former teachers from Flat Rock and East Henderson at the luncheon today. I’m in the right place, the right town. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It is just a privilege to represent you.”
Scott Moore, Rugby Middle School Principal, stood by proudly as McCrary received congratulations from her fellow nominees. “Ms. McCrary exemplifies everything that teaching is about,” Moore said. “She loves her students and works very hard to challenge them all regardless of where they are in the learning process.”
The student body and faculty of Rugby Middle School greeted McCrary with flowers, balloons and a congratulatory sign when she returned to campus.
“Ms. McCrary was incredible. She was like a second mom to me,” said Amanda Jane Whiting, an 8th grade student who had McCrary for honors English last year. “I call her my ‘school mom.’ She was so inspiring and excited to teach. She will always be one of my favorite teachers.”

Another former student, Megan Broome, added: “Ms. McCrary meant a lot to me. She was very special and everything she did she put a lot of effort and pride into it.”
McCrary received a $1,000 check from Park Ridge Health and an all-expense-paid North Carolina education conference of her choosing. She will also receive a ring from Jostens.

Henderson County Early College Student Body President Lisa Scarduzio was the luncheon’s keynote speaker.

“There is nothing I would love more than to go back in time and say ‘thank you’ to my former teachers,” she said. “Teachers are the foundation for life. You are the reason we can be everything we want to be.”

McCrary was selected from among 23 teachers representing each public school in Henderson County. Other nominees were: Deborah Y. Lee, Apple Valley Middle; Glenda C. Spicer, Atkinson Elementary; Haley A. Parent, Bruce Drysdale Elementary; Jennifer L. Wright, Career Academy; Leila D. Giesenschlag, Clear Creek Elementary; Kathleen R. Crosby, Dana Elementary; Matthew E. Witt, Early College; Laurie A. Gaitskill, East Henderson High; Lindsay M. Dutton, Edneyville Elementary; Megan M. Cockman, Etowah Elementary; Suzanne M. Riddle, Flat Rock Middle; Cassady R. Dillin, Fletcher Elementary; Candace A. Young, Glenn C. Marlow Elementary; Kimberly E. Heery, Hendersonville Elementary; David A. Cain, Hendersonville High; Nicole M. Parris, Hendersonville Middle; Mary Beth Johnson, Hillandale Elementary; Kelly R. Lamb, Mills River Elementary; Gary L. Blackwell, Jr., North Henderson High; Michelle M. Miller, Sugarloaf Elementary; Darrell D. Rogers, Upward Elementary; and Matthew E. Parent, West Henderson High.