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Taylor receives ACS Teacher of the Year honor

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Ashe County Schools named Kindergarten Teacher Assistant Sandra Simms its 2013-2014 Teacher Assistant of the Year on May 3.

Originally published: May. 9, 2013
Last modified: May. 9, 2013

Adam Orr

Ashe County Schools announced Academically and Intellectually Gifted Specialist Mandy Taylor as its 2013-14 Teacher of the Year during a May 3 ceremony.

Chosen following a portfolio entry and formal interview, Taylor was selected to represent ACS faculty and staff in the coming year, and is now eligible to compete in the Northwest North Carolina Teacher of the Year competition in September.

“Helping other people was modeled in front of me daily,” Taylor said. “By the time I was in sixth grade, I knew I wanted to help other people by serving as a teacher.”

Taylor began her career teaching reading, language arts and science at Kings Mountain Middle School in 1996, before later taking a position as an AIG Specialist with ACS in 1999, a role that she still holds.

In 2003, Taylor earned both a master’s degree in curriculum instruction from Appalachian State University and National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards. Most recently, she earned a Ph.D. in Education from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

“Dr. Taylor deserves this recognition,” Westwood Elementary Principal Jennifer Robinson said. “She is a tremendous asset to Westwood Elementary School and Ashe County Schools. She works tirelessly to plan lessons to challenge her students, and help them to become 21st century leaders. “Mrs. Mandy,” as she is known by her students, collaborates with her parents, students, teachers and administration and is willing to help in any way.”

Taylor narrowly beat out Ashe County High School Teacher of the Year career and technical business education teacher Jennifer Phipps and Ashe County Middle School seventh grade language arts and social studies teacher Stephanie Holt, who was named ACMS Teacher of the Year.  

Teacher Assistant
of the Year

Taylor was joined with 2013-14 honors by Kindergarten Teacher Assistant Sandra Simms as Ashe County Schools Teacher Assistant of the Year.

“I love working with children and I try hard to be a key resource by providing support for my students, their parents and my school,” Simms said. “As such I hope to enable students to become more independent learners and raise standards of achievement for all pupils.”

Simms has worked for Ashe County Schools since 2001 in different capacities, according to a release issued by ACS, including substitute teacher, tutor and part-time assistant. She has been employed as a full-time teacher assistant since August 2007.

“Teacher assistants play a vital role in the education of Ashe County students and we value their dedication and ongoing service to our schools,” according to the release. “These paraprofessionals provide instructional support and clerical assistance for the classroom teacher daily. They are constantly in motion from the time they arrive until they leave.”

Teacher Assistant of the Year selectees must be employed with Ashe County Schools for a minimum of three years, and must possess “team player” characteristics and exemplify a collaborative spirit and a willingness to be flexible and understanding.

In addition to Simms, 2013-14 Teacher Assistant of the Year nominees included Ashe County High School’s Linda Sloan, Ashe County Middle School’s Sara Houck, Blue Ridge Elementary School’s Linda Campbell and Mountain View Elementary’s Michelle Davis.

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For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.