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NEWS RELEASES 2001-02 :: APRIL 30, 2002


Melissa Bartlett, an English teacher at Statesville High School in the Iredell-Statesville School System, was named the 2002-03 North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a formal banquet held tonight in Cary. She succeeds Carmen Wilson, a mathematics teacher at Ashe County High School in Ashe County.

State Superintendent Mike Ward made the presentation, saying that all of North Carolina's Teachers of the Year "share common bonds of enthusiasm for learning and dedication to the academic success of every student. Melissa Bartlett exemplifies these qualities that characterize the very best teachers."

Bartlett said, "From early on it seemed as though teaching was a "calling" and I knew I wanted to heed that important call. I wanted to be someone's great teacher." Bartlett added that "education was, and still is, the ultimate for me."

Thanks to the NC Automobile Dealers Association (NCADA), the state's Teacher of the Year once again received one of the ultimate rewards for a job well done - a brand new 2002 Nissan Altima. Under this partnership with the Public Schools of North Carolina, the NCADA also sponsored the night's activities and awards. In addition, North Carolina Ford and Chrysler dealers are offering educators an additional $500 rebate toward the purchase or lease of any qualifying new 2002 vehicle during the month of May.

David Farris, chairman of the NC Automobile Dealers Association, said that the NCADA is very proud of the superb work teachers put forth in educating children in the classroom. "Second only to parents, teachers hold the future of a young child in their hands and words," Farris said.

Bartlett has 18 years of teaching experience, including eight years internationally. She has been with Iredell-Statesville Schools for the past four years teaching English, grammar and composition and creative writing to 10th, 11th and 12th graders. Professionally, she is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, the North Carolina Council of Teachers of English and the North Carolina Association of Educators. She has received several awards including Iredell-Statesville Teacher of the Year 2001-02, Statesville High School Teacher of the Year 2001-02, and a nomination for the First Union Ben Craig Outstanding Teacher Award 2001-02.

Bartlett received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Old Dominion University and a Masters Degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language from The American University in Cairo. She also achieved National Board Certification in 1998.

The state's Teacher of the Year spends the school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She also receives a one-time $7,500 stipend and a trip to a national conference. In addition, the state Teacher of the Year serves as an advisor to the State Board of Education.

The other regional finalists were: Southeast Region - Elaine Duff, English teacher, Douglas Byrd High, Cumberland County Schools; Northeast Region - Pat Persinger, fifth grade teacher, Grifton Elementary, Pitt County Schools; Central Region - Neal Andrews, fifth grade teacher, Monticello-Brown Summit Elementary, Guilford County Schools; Southwest Region - Kimberly Milner, K-2 Title I Reading teacher, Fred L. Wilson Elementary, Kannapolis City Schools; and West Region - Traci Barger, social studies teacher, McDowell High, McDowell County Schools.

For additional information, please contact Cecil Banks, Center for Recruitment and Retention, DPI, 919.807.3375.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.