JCS Recognizes 32 Outstanding First Year Teachers


Johnston County Schools recognized the top three finalists for the Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year Award. From left are finalist Bryan Van Tassel, South-Smithfield Elementary; winner Jazmine Walker, Smithfield-Selma High School; finalist Paige Nixon, East Clayton Elementary School; and JCS Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom.

More than 30 first year teachers in Johnston County Schools were recently recognized for their outstanding performance in the classroom this year.

Thirty-two first year teachers from schools across the county were honored for their efforts at a special event held at JCS Facility Services in Smithfield on April 16.

The leaders of the JCS Beginning Teacher Support Program introduced each of the nominees for the district-wide honor of JCS Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year. Many positive attributes were used to describe each of these wonderful teachers. They were specifically noted as having natural talent in the education field.

Jazmine Walker, high school science teacher at Smithfield-Selma High School, was named the JCS Outstanding First Year Teacher. Walker received a plaque from Johnston County Schools and a $500 check from Alison Hudson with Horace Mann Insurance Company.

According to Smithfield-Selma High School Principal Stephen Baker, Walker is an excellent instructional leader, both inside and outside of the classroom. Although a first year teacher, she has an innate sense of how learning takes place and how to facilitate her instruction to maximize student engagement.  She knows her content and manipulates it in order to build capacity and position students to own and retain the information.  She has demonstrated a unique ability to connect with students at all levels.  

“Ms. Walker epitomizes the proverb, Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care,”  said Baker.

Joining Walker in the top three were East Clayton Elementary School’s Paige Nixon and South Smithfield Elementary School’s Bryan Van Tassel. Both Nixon and Van Tassel received plaques from Johnston County Schools and a check for $250 from the Johnston County Education Foundation.

The 2014-2015 Nominees for Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year included: Archer Lodge Middle – Tobias Hocutt; Benson Elementary – Sarah Eonta; Clayton High – Paula Gibson; Clayton Middle – Meredith Lindsay; Cleveland Elementary – Olivia Williamson; Cleveland High – Judy Hardee; Cooper Elementary – Karen Newhart; Corinth-Holders Elementary – Myra Peedin; Corinth-Holders High – Chaning Fuller; East Clayton Elementary – Paige Nixon; Four Oaks Elementary – Lindsey Jackson; Four Oaks Middle- Lindsey Mooring; Glendale-Kenly Elementary – Hannah Koch; Johnston County Early College – Sarah Holmes; McGee’s Crossroads Middle – Amanda Welsh; Meadow School – Elizabeth Schreiber; Micro-Pine Level Elementary- Sarah Hughes; North Johnston Middle – Jennifer Harrell; North Johnston High- Taylor Jones; Polenta Elementary – Krystal Aviles; Princeton Elementary – Georgina Wilde; Princeton Middle/High- Brittany Barbour; River Dell Elementary – Brandy Davis; Selma Elementary – Katie Strickland; Selma Middle – Dawn Bonner; Smithfield Middle – Jeffrey Massey; Smithfield-Selma High – Jazmine Walker; South Johnston High – Megan Jones; South Smithfield Elementary- Bryan VanTassel; West Smithfield Elementary -Karen Wood; West View Elementary- Elizabeth Winspear; and Wilson’s Mills Elementary- Samantha McGahey.