2017-10-19 / Front Page

Amanda Sandifer has been named district-wide ‘Teacher of the Year’


Lincoln County Middle School teacher Susan Pilgrim, Lincoln County Elementary School teacher Amanda Sandifer, and Lincoln County High School teacher Debbie Deason were all honored as “Teacher of the Year” at the most recent meeting of the board of education, however Sandifer was also celebrated for being named the system-wide Teacher of the Year. Lincoln County Middle School teacher Susan Pilgrim, Lincoln County Elementary School teacher Amanda Sandifer, and Lincoln County High School teacher Debbie Deason were all honored as “Teacher of the Year” at the most recent meeting of the board of education, however Sandifer was also celebrated for being named the system-wide Teacher of the Year. Fourth-grade math and science teacher Amanda Sandifer was re­cently named “Teacher of the Year” for the Lincoln County School dis­trict, on top of being named as the elementary school’s selection for the annual honor.

Sandifer was joined by middle and high school Teachers of the Year Susan Pilgrim and Debbie Deason at the most recent meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Education, where they were celebrated for their dedication to education and helping students succeed as they’ve invested their time, skills, and nurturing in­struction into each child that enters their classrooms.

“It is my distinct pleasure to not only identify our Teachers of the Year – who are exceptional – but to also award them the board check,” Superintendent Dr. Samuel Light said. “On top of that I want to thank them not only for what they do for our kids every day, but for all of the kids in the family that they affect every day and how wonderful that is – we as a family being together and helping the entire community and I want to thank you for that, all of you.”

Each school’s principal was in­vited to share with the board and those present why they believe each teacher is deserving of the title “Teacher of the Year.”

LCES Principal Jeana Aycock began, “Yes, Amanda Sandifer, is very special, obviously, at our school. I love to share this story, but when you’re a teacher and you go to trainings you end up meeting people from other counties, and Mrs. Sandifer was always a teacher I’d meet at different trainings.

“You would hear a lot from other teachers and her name would come up, so when I moved into the posi­tion that I’m in here immediately I started thinking about all of the people in Lincolnton that should be here helping our students, since they live here and are from here and Mrs. Sandifer was one of those,” Aycock said.

Sandifer is now entering into her 10th year as an educator, and her fourth year at LCES. Having taught fourth-grade math and science for over three years at LCES, she previ­ously taught at Washington-Wilkes Primary School for six years.

“As soon as her little feet hit the floor she is teaching, and does not stop teaching until it is time to call buses, and that’s what we love about her – she tries to maximize every minute that she has with the stu­dents, and the students know when you’re about them, and Mrs. Sandi­fer is definitely about her students. Her students love her and she loves her students, and obviously has a great relationship with them because of it,” Aycock said.

Praising the district-wide teacher of the year, the principal added, “She just gets it. When you’re in her class­room she will tie in four different strategies in 10 minutes, and you’re just blown away. Her classroom might look like everyone else’s, but when you sit down and listen to her actual instruction she’ll relate it to real world situations, and a lot of times she’ll relate it to real world situations I’ve never even thought of, but then she’ll have pictures for the ones that might need a picture of it. She is always prepared and her brain is always thinking how can I make this mean something to the children. She’s definitely very special to us and to her students.”

Pilgrim has spent her entire 18 years as an educator at LCMS, to which Principal Patty Arthur expressed, “Mrs. Pilgrim has been at the middle school longer than I have. This is her 19th year, she has 18 years behind her, and I believe she’s served on every committee that we have – team chair, grade chair, school improvement, PBIS – any­thing we’ve ever had she does that. She tutors after school as well. She is a very hard worker and she shuts the place down down here, she’s always there.”

Valued for her honest input, Pil­grim is often a sounding board and giver of good advice. “I always say ‘now be honest,’ well she is very honest,” Arthur said, explaining that her straightforward personality is something she treasures.

“But more than that I see her and the relationships that she has with the kids,” Arthur said. “She’s always been there for them and been there for us. I’m very proud of her, she’s an outstanding lady.”

Deason has worked as a special education teacher in Lincoln County for 10 years. While she’s spent the last eight years at LCHS, she worked at LCMS for two years prior to mov­ing to the high school. The majority of Pilgrim’s teaching experience has been as a co-teacher in high school math classes.

LCHS Principal Dr. Howie Gunby likewise weighed in, stating, “Lin­coln County High School’s Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Debbie Deason, and you probably hear this a lot but she is a hardworking young lady. She stays after school almost every day trying to help students and to make sure they get their homework done. If they need extra tutoring she comes early in the morning, and I think she has the key to every math classroom, because if the teacher’s not there she will go and unlock it and let the kids in to get them started.

“That’s just the type of person she is,” Gunby said, praising her tenacity and thoughtfulness for her students.

Having also collected several comments from the LCHS math de­partment, the teachers unanimously agreed that above all Deason, “genu­inely cares about our kids.”

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