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Macon Teacher named NCCAT 2021 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year

CULLOWHEE –  Emilee Higdon, a High School English teacher at Union Academy in Macon County Schools, was named the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) 2021 Prudential NC Beginning Teacher of the Year in a special ceremony at the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center on the campus of Western Carolina University Thursday, April 15, 2021.

The award was presented for the second time with finalists from across the state in attendance.

Higdon was described as a beacon of positivity. Her principal noted: her unrelenting courage to embrace opportunities to help her students grow makes her an ideal example of a leader.  A student said her style of communication makes the learning process feel more collaborative. The classroom works together as a group and she hears what each of student has to say.

“I am proud of all our finalists and happy for Ms. Higdon and her school district,” NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble said. “NCCAT is a long-time supporter of teaching excellence, and a natural expression of that support is to recognize the best of the beginning teachers in our state. We’ve had a wonderful week of professional development and then an inspirational evening to celebrate our state’s teachers.”

The runner-up is Robin Mehler, who teachers fourth and fifth grades at Lucky S. Herring Elementary School in Asheville City Schools. This teacher’s goal is to help students feel comfortable in their own skin, feel capable, and feel prepared and brave.  She is described as an energetic and motivational teacher.

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