2017-10-26 / Front Page

Julie Driggers is Teacher of the Year for Wilkes County; others chosen too


Wilkes County’s Teacher of the Year Julie Driggers is congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosemary Caddell along with other Teachers of the Year (back, l-r) Franklin Jones, W-WMS; Tyler Moon, W-WCHS; and Lindsey Waller, W-WES. Wilkes County’s Teacher of the Year Julie Driggers is congratulated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosemary Caddell along with other Teachers of the Year (back, l-r) Franklin Jones, W-WMS; Tyler Moon, W-WCHS; and Lindsey Waller, W-WES. In front of a packed house, Washington Wilkes Primary School first grade teacher Julie Driggers was named Wilkes County’s Teacher of the Year Monday evening at the Board of Education offices.

Drigger’s principal at W-WPS, Janet Pharr, said, “I think it’s great that she is a product of Wilkes County. She was a 1999 W-WCHS graduate so her blood runs blue and gold. On her original job application she said she thinks teaching is the best profession you can have to give back to your community. After 13 years, she has given a lot back to her community.”

Driggers has been a first-grade teacher for the entire 13 years and other teachers in the school call her dependable and determined. Her students call her awesome.

“No matter what class she gets, whether it’s students who are struggling or others, she takes them where they are and expects them to succeed and pushes them,” Pharr praised. “She’s jam up. She could teach a rock how to read.”

Reporting that Driggers is a joy to watch in the classroom, Pharr said she brings reading to life and goes “above and beyond” to make it exciting and fun for her students.

“She said she became a teacher because she saw how much her mom had been an influence in other kids’ lives,” Pharr concluded.

Also recognized were Teacher of the Year winners from each of the system’s schools. In addition to Driggers, who was the Primary School’s Teacher of the Year, they are Lindsey Waller, fourth grade math and science teacher from Washington-Wilkes Elementary School; Franklin Jones, sixth grade Earth Science teacher from Washington Wilkes Middle School; and Tyler Moon, U.S. History teacher at Washington-Wilkes Comprehensive High School.

Each of the school winners received an engraved plaque and a cash award. Driggers received an additional cash award, and her name will be added to the system-wide Teacher of the Year plaque on display at the Wilkes County Board of Education. She will also be submitted to the State Teacher of the Year competition in December. The winner of the state competition will be announced in May of 2018.

“I am so very proud of all four of these candidates!” Superintendent Dr. Rosemary Caddell said. “They represent the best of the best in Wilkes County Schools. It is always a very difficult decision to choose the top teacher,” she continued. “Each of these teachers embodies all that we hold dear: dedication to children, innovative and effective teaching, professionalism, and community spirit.”

Each of the honorees was chosen from other nominees at their respective schools. Others nominated were Wanda Jackson and Susan Poss from W-WPS; Marquita Turman from W-WES; Jill Gaddy and Luke Kellogg from W-WMS; and Michael Atkinson, Lise Kalla, and Marsha Willis from W-WCHS.

“Our motto in Wilkes County Schools is ‘Excellence without Exception,’ Caddell remarked. “Teachers, staff, and students strive for excellence each day without exception. Excellence cannot be attained, but it can be sought. Excellence is being better today than you were yesterday and better tomorrow than you were today. It is a habit that makes one achieve more than seems possible.

“To do that without exception means every person, every day – regardless of ability, age, or physical restraints – can be better each day.”

The superintendent also remarked that administrators frequently report how well Wilkes County teachers work with all children. “In Wilkes County, we have all kinds of children, kind, loving, very well-behaved with a few exceptions … and we have lots of different needs to be met,” she said. “It just really takes a special person to be able to hit all those points at one time. Teaching and learning is a symbiotic relationship – in order to teach, there’s got to be learning happening, and that is what is happening here.”

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