Shannon Snipes, a fifth grade teacher at Selma Middle, is the recipient of the 24th Annual Flame for Learning Award.
Snipes was honored at the annual Flame for Learning Banquet held on Tuesday at the Clayton Center.
Hosted by the county’s Chambers of Commerce, the award comes with the title of “Johnston County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.”
“I was overwhelmed with joy that in my profession a teacher would be recognized for doing their everyday job,” said Snipes. “It’s great to have a county, to have commissioners, to have crews that recognize teachers for what they do.”
Snipes’ classroom best practice was “Inspiring Students to Foster a Passion for Learning,” which allowed students to transform the hallways of their school into an arcade for an interactive math lesson. Students were challenged to invent or recreate classic arcade games using household supplies, while incorporating a math lesson from their curriculum to teach their fellow classmates.
“It was really emotional because I work with these kids every day. It’s an honor for me to teach them, “ said Snipes. “Every day I challenge myself to push them just a little bit further, to be innovative with them, and to build relationships with them. I try to find relevant things for them to use in their daily lives that will make them better in the future.”
As the Flame for Learning Award winner Snipes received a cash award of $1,000, along with a $1,000 grant from the Johnston County Education Foundation. She will go on to compete for the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, beginning with regional competition in the fall of 2017.
“We commend all of our semifinalists on being recognized for best instructional practices in the classroom,” said Johnston County Public School Superintendent Dr. Ross Renfrow. “We congratulate this year’s Flame recipient, Shannon Snipes, for her commitment and dedication to our students at Selma Middle School.”
The three finalists for the award were Brooke Daughtry, Math teacher at North Johnston High School – Best Practice: Personalized Learning Environment; William Parker, World History teacher at Smithfield-Selma High School – Best Practice: Political Parties and You; and Amber Sweigart, American Sign Language teacher at West Johnston High School – Best Practice: Deaf Performance Night. Each of the three finalists received $300, and the schools of the award recipient and finalists each received $250.
The Chambers of Commerce in Johnston County adopted the Flame for Learning Award because of the important role that teachers play in developing and educating children. In so doing, it has been the goal of the local chambers to support and elevate the teaching profession in the school district. This award recognizes outstanding creativity and innovation of teachers and the impact they are having on their students. Hundreds of teachers were nominated and were asked to submit a “best practice” that they used in the classroom. A selection committee named 20 semifinalists after reviewing the best practices, without knowledge of the teacher’s name, address, or school. The 20 semifinalists later participated in an interview process to determine the recipient and the finalists.
The remaining 16 semifinalists for the 2017 Flame for Learning Award received $100 each, and they are:
Christopher Aycock ‐ South Johnston High School
Colleen Bonner ‐ West Johnston High School
Michael Butler ‐ Clayton Middle School
Reid Byrd ‐ West Johnston High School
LiAnn Cheong ‐ Riverwood Elementary School
Dorothy Finiello ‐ Selma Middle School
Dorothy Holley ‐ Clayton High School
Morgan Jones ‐ Micro Elementary School
Miranda Lewis ‐ Corinth-Holders Elementary School
Jack Littleton ‐ South Johnston High School
Patricia Lytle ‐ Riverwood Elementary School
Melissa Noel ‐ North Johnston High School
Mistie Pulleyn ‐ Riverwood Elementary School
Emily Scott ‐ West Johnston High School
Adam Simpson ‐ Riverwood Elementary School
Joseph Smith ‐ Cleveland High School
“I hope everyone realizes that the students are why we’re here. We want to educate these young minds because they’re our future,” said Snipes. “It’s humbling that there are other teachers here, 19 other teachers that went through this same experience, who are creative teachers just like myself.”
Chick-fil-A of Smithfield and the Johnston County Education Foundation were the presenting sponsors for the 2017 Flame for Learning Award. In addition, there were 72 Johnston County businesses, civic organizations, and community members that helped to sponsor this year’s event.
“We appreciate our Chamber’s of Commerce, event sponsors, and the Johnston County Education Foundation for all they do to support public education in our schools,” said Dr. Renfrow.
As the 2017 Flame for Learning Award recipient, Snipes will serve as a role model for educators across the district.
“In the next year I hope to inspire other teachers to be creative with their students, to create an environment where the students want to come to school, where they want to learn, where they don’t want to leave,” said Snipes.