Grimes named Regional Teacher of the Year

Article Published: Dec. 29, 2011 | Modified: Dec. 29, 2011

Darcy Grimes of Bethel Elementary School was recognized Monday for a distinction no other Watauga County educator has achieved since 1985: Regional Teacher of the Year.

The third-grade teacher was awarded last Monday afternoon in front of fellow teachers and students by a team of local administrators, her husband, and current North Carolina Teacher of the Year Tyronna Hooker.

Of more than 97,000 teachers across the state, Grimes is one of only nine to be selected as a Regional Teacher of the Year.

Grimes, who is now in her third year at Bethel, taught at Moravian Falls Elementary in Wilkes County for three years prior. She attended Appalachian State University and first got involved with this school system as site director of the Blowing Rock Elementary after-school program.

While at Bethel, she has embraced technology in the classroom and has started a running club for students.

Grimes was selected in May as the Watauga County Teacher of the Year and advanced to the regional level, which includes 14 counties.

For her achievement, Grimes receives $5,000 from the Department of Public Instruction, as well as $2,500 from Watauga County Schools — a gift few school districts are able to offer. She also receives a technology package, appointment to the Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Board and opportunities to present and attend seminars.

Grimes now will undergo a screening process that includes interviews, a public speaking requirement and other challenges.

But at this level, the process will not include observation of Grimes in her classroom, so she has to be prepared to explain her theories and methods for education, said Hooker, an exceptional children’s teacher at Graham Middle School.

“She’s got to sell herself,” Hooker said. “She has to define or create her moment in time for herself.”

From there, a committee of educators, business and community leaders will select the State Teacher of the Year in April or May.

That award-winning teacher will take a one-year sabbatical to travel and speak on behalf of education.

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