NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: MAY 3, 2012


Darcy Grimes

Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary School (Watauga County Schools) today was named the 2012-13 North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a luncheon held in Cary. Grimes succeeds Tyronna Hooker, an exceptional children teacher at Graham Middle School (Alamance-Burlington Schools).

In making the presentation, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Grimes is a wonderful example of the amazing teachers leading public school classrooms across the state. "Darcy's love and excitement for teaching are evident in the variety of ways she teaches her students. She realizes that instructional opportunities are not always found in the classroom and that by working with students through community activities, such as a running club, she can teach them important life lessons in other ways," Atkinson said.

State Board of Education Vice Chairman Wayne McDevitt also congratulated Grimes on her selection. "Darcy understands the importance of equipping her students with the interpersonal and technological skills they will need to succeed in a global economy. When third graders learn these types of valuable skills, they are more likely to be ready for careers and college when they graduate," he said.

In accepting the award, Grimes said she not only wants her students to achieve to their potential but to be life-long learners and global citizens who can compete in a technological society. "My students have many opportunities to work in collaborative groups on project-based assignments. They also use Web 2.0 tools to work collaboratively with students in classrooms in five states and abroad in four countries," she said. "What better way is there to teach students to be global life-long learners?"

Grimes has taught for five years, the last two at Bethel Elementary. She is a member of the school's Personnel Advisory Committee, a beginning teacher mentor, and piloted the Leader in Me program. She has presented at a number of professional development sessions including sessions on Web 2.0 tools, SMART Board and SMART Notebook, as well as diversity training.

Grimes has received several awards including Northwest NC Regional Teacher of the Year (Jan. 2012), Watauga County Teacher of the Year (May 2011), Bethel Elementary School Teacher of the Year (Feb. 2011), Watauga Education Foundation Grant Recipient (Fall 2010/Fall 2009), and Intel Master Teacher (Oct. 2009).

She completed her undergraduate studies at Appalachian State University where she earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education K-6 and minored in Social Sciences. She also successfully completed coursework for add-on licenses for Social Studies 6-9 and Language Arts 6-9 in 2009. Grimes is currently working on her master's degree in Instructional Technology at Appalachian State University.

As North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Grimes will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive an automobile to use during the year thanks to Flow Automotive in Winston-Salem, an engraved vase, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year conference, the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment at the North Carolina Center for International Understanding, and a technology package valued at more than $11,000 from SMART Technologies. She also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will sponsor her enrollment and completion of the Education Policy Fellowship Program.

The other regional finalists were:

  • North Central Region: Malinda Pennington, Toisnot Middle (Wilson County Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Lisa Staats, Chocowinity Middle (Beaufort County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Melissa Warren, South Brunswick High (Brunswick County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Lenora Crabtree, Forest View High (Gaston County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Karrie Detwiler, JW Turlington Alternative School (Hoke County Schools);
  • Piedmont-Triad/Central Region: Jennifer Arberg, Kiser Middle (Guilford County Schools);
  • West Region: Edith Callahan, Smoky Mountain High (Jackson County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Jenni Clayton, Forsyth Academy (Forsyth County).

North Carolina has recognized outstanding teachers through its Teacher of the Year program since 1970. For more information on North Carolina's Teacher of the Year recognition program, visit

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 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.