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7 teachers named Semester Superstars honorees

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SMITHFIELD — The Triangle East Chamber of Commerce recently hosted Semester Superstars honorees at the Sleep Inn and Suites in Smithfield.

This celebration is held twice a year and honors middle/high school and elementary school teachers. The chamber’s education committee invites area principals to nominate teachers who have shown initiative, dedication to their students and commitment to the work of education.

Local business leaders, representatives from the Johnston County Board of Education and Neuse Charter School and community members gathered to celebrate the selected middle and high school teachers.

Principals shared the special qualities of their nominees, giving examples of their willingness to go above and beyond what is required to invest in their students and in their school.

Seven teachers were honored and presented with the Semester Superstars award, along with gifts and monetary awards donated by area businesses.

The 2019 middle and high school Semester Superstars are: Kalicia Gurley, Neuse Charter School; Becky Worley, Career and Technical Leadership Academy; Randy Parker, Innovation Academy at South Campus; Haley Darden. Princeton Middle High School; Nicole Stevens, Selma Middle School; Sarah Anderson, Smithfield Middle School; and Tarsha Johnson, Smithfield-Selma High.

“I was humbled. I like to fly below the radar, I’m not a fan of public accolades,” said Parker, a science teacher at the Innovation Academy. “It was nice to hear what the teachers and students said. It made me feel good to know I can continue to make an impact this late in my teaching career.”

“I found out when I was called to the principal’s office,” said Anderson, an AVID enrichment teacher. “Mrs. Anders asked me to come to her office and said ‘Congratulations”’and I must have had a blank look and that’s when she told me I had been selected as the chamber’s Semester Superstar for our school.

“I was humbled as I know how much all the teachers do on behalf of the students at Smithfield Middle School. My colleagues are superstars in every sense of the word. It is an honor to be recognized for doing the work I love.”

“It was announced during our monthly staff meeting,” said Johnson, inclusion teacher and cheerleading coach. “I was totally surprised. I just do what I do. I’m never looking for anything in return. I feel honored and humbled when I’m acknowledged for helping others, but I feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do, its whatever we all should be doing.

Several principals explained why they nominated their teachers.

“Ms. Anderson truly advocates for students and forms positive relationships with students, families and staff. She also encourages her colleagues and beginning teachers. Every lesson she plans and teaches in her classroom is intentional and engaging and every minute is used,” said Smithfied Middle Principal Heather Anders. “She is a classroom teacher as well as serves in the total school environment. She is an active member of the School Improvement Team and serves as National Junior Honor Society adviser and AVID coordinator. She plans many student-centered activities for AVID students and all students at our school. She is an asset to the Smithfield Middle School community. She is truly a superstar today and every day. She is most deserving of this recognition.”

“Ms. Johnson works tirelessly on behalf of all students and staff. She is an all-around great colleague,” said Smithfield-Selma Principal David Allen. “She has the trust of all whom she meets. She is always upbeat, positive and willing to lend a helping hand. If you see her around this week, give her a high-five and a big thank you for all she does. Congratulations, Ms. Johnson. You make us so proud!”

Becky Worley is a math teacher at the Innovation Academy at South Campus.

Mrs. Worley is a phenomenal math teacher, co-worker and friend. Mrs. Worley is a lady who knows what it means to go the extra mile,” said Principal Sheila Singleton. “This extraordinary lady genuinely cares about each and every one of her students and does everything in her power to help them be successful. When asked why students and staff chose Mrs. Worley for this award, several responded with some of the following phrases: She’s kind and caring; she’s nice, she’s an amazing teacher and she’s a team player.”