NEWS RELEASES 2012-13 :: MAY 2, 2013


Karyn Dickerson, an English teacher at Grimsley High School (Guilford County Schools) today was named the 2013-14 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year at a luncheon held in Cary. Dickerson succeeds Darcy Grimes, a third grade teacher at Bethel Elementary School (Watauga County Schools).

In making the presentation, State Superintendent June Atkinson said Dickerson is an inspiring example of the teachers leading North Carolina public school classrooms. "Karyn's educational philosophy prepares students to succeed in the classroom and in life," Atkinson said. "She encourages her students to think for themselves and provides them with numerous opportunities for open discussion and cooperative learning. These are valuable skills that will serve them well in further education and in their careers."

Atkinson also thanked Burroughs Wellcome Fund for its sponsorship of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year program. "Over 92,000 teachers come to work each day and give their all to ensure that their students have the skills they need to succeed in class, at the next grade level and in life after high school. The opportunities to formally recognize their efforts are few. I am grateful to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for enabling us to continue a 43-year tradition of recognizing our classroom's best leaders."

"The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is proud to sponsor the North Carolina Teacher of the Year," said BWF President John Burris. "We hope this award recognizes and reminds us all that teaching is a profession that is central to our future as a society and a nation."

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey also congratulated Dickerson on her selection. "Karyn sets high expectations for her students and then works hard to ensure that she meets each of their academic needs so that they succeed. Her willingness to embrace educational opportunities to help her be a better teacher and better understand her students makes her an exemplary role model," he said.

In accepting the award, Dickerson said she believes that students remember the teachers who give them the tools to navigate a world full of uncertainty and challenges. "It is not the knowledge that we give students that is the most important lesson we teach," she said. "It is how we teach them to take that knowledge, synthesize it, question it, and develop it that really matters."

Dickerson has spent the majority of her teaching career, six years, at Grimsley High School. She also taught reading remediation to middle school students at Rockingham County Middle School (Rockingham County Schools) for six months. She is on Grimsley High School's Media Advisory Committee; the Teacher Advisory Council for Guilford County Schools; the Guilford Parent Academy Planning Committee; the Global Issues, Global Solutions Staff Development Team; and the Assessment for Learning Staff Development Team. She is a mentor for prospective English teacher student interns and an International Baccalaureate Organization English teacher. She also is an English Methods Course Instructor for Guilford College.

She has received several awards including the 2012 Piedmont-Triad/Central Regional Teacher of the Year Finalist, 2012 Guilford County Schools' Teacher of the Year, 2012 Grimsley High School Teacher of the Year, the 2011-12 North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A Women's Tennis State Championship Coach, and from 2008-2011 was recognized for having an Advanced Placement English Literature passing percentage higher than the district average.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in May 2004 and earned a bachelor of arts with Honors and Highest Distinction in English. She also graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. In November 2005, she received a master of Philosophy with Distinction in Romanticism and the Forms of Modernity from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where she studied as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar. She completed education courses at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Greensboro College and Appalachian State University to meet the lateral entry teacher licensure requirements from 2006-2008. In the summer of 2009, she attended the Language Institute of the University of Salamanca, Spain, where she intensively studied Spanish. In 2010, she achieved National Board Certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood/English Language Arts.

As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Dickerson 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, 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 through 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: Thomas McGeachy, Weldon STEM High (Weldon City Schools);
  • Northeast Region: Pamela Mills, First Flight Middle (Dare County Schools);
  • Northwest Region: Christopher Petree, Starmount High (Yadkin County Schools);
  • Southeast Region: Carrie Morris, Swansboro Elementary (Onslow County Schools);
  • Southwest Region: Julian Wilson, York Chester Middle (Gaston County Schools);
  • Sandhills/South Central Region: Shannon Godfrey, Harnett Central High (Harnett County Schools);
  • West Region: Jill Francis, Chase High (Rutherford County Schools); and
  • Charter Schools: Jan Adams, Arts Based Elementary (Forsyth County).

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

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.