‘Joyful, accomplished’ 3rd-grade teacher named Dare’s best

By on September 19, 2017

Katie Blanchard teaches 3rd grade at Nags Head Elementary. (DCS)

Dare County Schools has selected a third-grade teacher at Nags Head Elementary School as the District Teacher of the Year.

The 2017-18 honoree is Katie Blanchard, who will represent Dare County among school districts in the Northeast Region. A regional winner is selected from that pool, who will then compete for the title of North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

“Blanchard stands out as a joyful, accomplished, master teacher who is dedicated to being the best she can be for her students, colleagues, and parents every day,” a press release from Dare County Schools said.

This school year will be her seventh as a third-grade teacher. She began her career as a volunteer in a third-grade classroom during her senior year in high school; ultimately, she went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from East Carolina University.

Her family may have influenced her decision to become a teacher. Her mother, ​Suzanne Blackstock, is a social studies teacher at First Flight Middle School. Her father, Steve Blackstock, is the principal of Manteo Elementary School.

As a teacher, Blanchard’s ultimate goal is to nurture future leaders, she said in the press release, adding that leadership needs to start from a young age.

“As a teacher, I feel that I have the responsibility and privilege to positively influence young people to reach their potential, to find their purpose in the world, and to gain the equal education to which they have a right,” Blanchard said.

“I make it a priority to get to know each student as an individual and show him or her respect. I hope my students are able to discover that it is through making mistakes that we learn and it is through building each other up and learning about diverse populations that we grow,” she added.

As the district winner, Blanchard will receive a $500 monetary award from TowneBank OBX, along with a $1,000 stipend from Dare Education Foundation to attend a professional development seminar of her choice.

In addition, she will receive a week-long session at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching and $250 for use in her classroom, funded by the Dare County Board of Education’s contribution to the NCCAT scholarship program.

Blanchard was among 11 Teachers of the Year, each representing their individual schools. During an awards ceremony honoring the winners, Superintendent John D. Farrelly expressed confidence that any one of the 11 school candidates would make an excellent district representative, according to a report from Dare County Schools.

Dare County Schools’ Teachers of the Year. (Photo courtesy Dare County Schools)

The awards ceremony was part of a recognition dinner held at Pamlico Jack’s in Nags Head, Sept. 7. The event was sponsored by the Board of Education, with special awards provided by TowneBank OBX and Dare Education Foundation.

The following teachers were named Teacher of the Year for their respective schools:

  • Jennifer Smith, First Flight Elementary School
  • Karen Lewis, First Flight Middle School
  • Rebecca Farish, Dare County Alternative School
  • Lea Dixon, Manteo High School
  • Katie Blanchard, Nags Head Elementary School
  • Erin Basilone, First Flight High School
  • Cindy Mansfield, Manteo Middle School
  • Nicole Farrell, Kitty Hawk Elementary School
  • Christine Van Atta, Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies
  • Ashley Gilreath, Manteo Elementary School
  • Shauna Leggat, Cape Hatteras Elementary School

Each school representative received a personalized engraved school bell, a Crystal Apple Award from Horace Mann Educators Corporation and stipends totaling $2,500 ​from TowneBank OBX. With the exception of Blanchard, who received a $500 award, each Teacher of the Year also received a monetary award of $150 from TowneBank OBX.

Pictured above (from top row, left) are Dare County Teachers of the Year for 2017-18: Ashley Gilreath, Manteo Elementary; Rebecca Farish, Dare County Alternative; Lea Dixon, Manteo High; (center row, from left) Karen Lewis, First Flight Middle; Christine Van Atta, Cape Hatteras Secondary; Cindy Mansfield, Manteo Middle; Nicole Farrell, Kitty Hawk Elementary; (front row) Erin Basilone, First Flight High; Katie Blanchard, Nags Head Elementary School and Dare County Schools Teacher of the Year; Shauna Leggat, Cape Hatteras Elementary, and Jen Smith, First Flight Elementary.

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