Lisa Staats named Regional Teacher of Year

Published 1:32 am Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beaufort County Schools News Release
What everyone thought was an assembly on academics turned into a special Friday afternoon for one teacher in Beaufort County.
Eighth-grade students and staff at Chocowinity Middle School remained gathered in the cafeteria following their lunch period to hear from their principal, Dale Cole. Or that’s what they anticipated. Instead, Tyronna Hooker, the current North Carolina Teacher of the Year, was in attendance to announce that Lisa Staats has been named Regional Teacher of the Year for Region 1.
Staats, who was named the Beaufort County Teacher of the Year on Oct. 4, was interviewed earlier this month as part of the competition for the Regional Teacher of the Year honors.
Nearly at a loss for words, Staats was surprised by the announcement.
“There are not words for this,” she said. “It is a huge honor to be named one of the best in the state. I am thrilled and honored to go on and represent the region and especially Beaufort County.”
Staats summed up her feelings about working in this school system, saying, “What we may lack financially, we have in heart.”
She will represent Region 1, which covers 14 counties in northeast North Carolina, at the state competition.
It was apparent Hooker takes joy in this part of her duties as the North Carolina Teacher of the Year.
“It is so exciting! I have the opportunity to reward someone for what they love,” she said.
She called experiences like Friday’s announcement “the highlight of being Teacher of the Year.”
Cole, principal at the middle school, had no hesitation when asked about Staats and her accomplishment.
“Mrs. Staats is an example of the kind of teacher we want to fill our schools with,” he explained. “Chocowinity Middle School is very excited to have one of our own represent our region at the state level competition, and I know that our community and the rest of our school district feels the same way. We at CMS could not be more proud of her.”
The seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher joined Beaufort County Schools in 2000, and she has been teaching for 14 years. Chocowinity Middle School has been her first and only assignment in Beaufort County since arriving from Pitt County. Staats, a graduate of East Carolina University, holds a master’s degree in mathematical education.
“I am very proud that a teacher from Beaufort County Schools has achieved this honor,” said Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools. “The teaching profession is filled with wonderfully talented individuals, and the fact that our region is being represented by one of our own teachers is thrilling. Mrs. Staats will represent our system and the profession well as she moves through the state-level process. We are excited and proud of Mrs. Staats and we wish her well in the quest for state teacher of the year.”
Also on hand for the announcement was Rena Farrelly, the regional education coordinator for Region 1 from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction; selection panel member Nell Lewis; and John Conway, BCS’s assistant superintendent.