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Isom named Carroll's top teacher

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

WOODLAWN — Carroll schools’ county-wide teacher of the year has taught at Woodlawn since beginning her career.
Becky Isom will also be the last teacher of the year to come from the school that’s scheduled to be closed after the completion of grade realignment, when construction work wraps up at Carroll high and intermediate.
Surprised in class by school and division administrators, Isom reacted that Woodlawn’s a good school full of good teachers.
“It makes it special when it’s a surprise,” said Jerry King, the division’s director of personnel.

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A special education teacher, Isom has worked at the school for almost 22 years. She will transfer to the newly dubbed Carroll County Middle School after this year.
“I’m quite overwhelmed,” she said, when asked about the award. “I don’t think you can really pick out one teacher.”
The teachers at Woodlawn work cooperatively and al support each other, Isom stressed.
Superintendent Strader Blankenship handed Isom a colorful bouquet of flowers and the award before the inclusion class she shares with another teacher.
(Students from different classes are combined in an inclusion and the teachers can work with students on different subject matters.)
“I firmly believe that every student can learn and vow to believe in my students until they can believe in themselves,” Isom wrote in her philosophy of teaching statement. “I belong in the classroom because I truly care about my students and want them to reach their full potential.”
This statement, as well as several letters of recommendations, are taken into consideration by a committee of 10 that selects the teacher of the year.
School administrators did not realize until after presenting the award that Isom would be the final teacher of the year from Woodlawn.
Carroll schools administrators held the first-ever reception to recognize the five finalists for teacher of the year Nov. 13.
The five candidates first mingled and enjoyed finger foods with Carroll School Board members and central office administrators before the school board’s meeting.
King introduced each candidate at the meeting. In addition to Isom, the finalists included Cathy Anderson, first grade teacher at St. Paul; Sarah Dalton, art teacher at Hillsville Elementary; Mary Fitzpatrick, English teacher at Carroll County Intermediate; and Lisa Lamb, kindergarten teacher at Gladeville.
King also read a quote from each of the teachers’ philosophy of teaching essay.
“One of my strongest beliefs is that every child should be provided with the maximum beneficial learning environment available,” Anderson wrote. “I believe in building relationships with my students and want them to have a sense of community, pride and ownership of their classroom where every child has the opportunity to grow as an individual.”
“One thing I love about teaching art is that not every student can learn by reading from textbooks or worksheets,” Dalton wrote. “Art is a way for them to express what they want to say or want to remember. To see their faces at the end of an assignment is priceless — knowing they are happy with what they have accomplished makes me happy.”
“When I became a teacher I found myself expecting students to accomplish their best,” said Fitzpatrick. “My goal is to encourage and show them with examples that they can succeed if they try. In their future, I hope they realize the importance of going much further than the minimum effort.”
“I have learned that each child is an individual, and my job is to teach each child so that he/she can be successful,” wrote Lamb. “For each child to be successful I feel I need to educate, motivate and build confidence.”
Educators also hosted a dinner for the finalists at Shoney’s.