Two ENC educators among nine Teacher of the Year finalists

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) – The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has announced its nine finalists for the 2024 Teacher of the Year and two Eastern Carolina educators made the list.

Nardi Routten, from Creekside Elementary School in Craven County, and Rachel Brackney, from SouthWest Edgecomb High School in Edgecombe County, made the cut for two of the nine 2024 Teacher of the Year finalists.

The department reports Rotten has had 24 years of teaching experience and aimed toward relationship building that would be key to her students’ success. Routten hosts a schoolwide project called “Math Detectives” where students must find creative, and mathematical, solutions to hands-on problems.

“I believe in using data and continuous improvement cycles to enhance student learning, making my classroom student-centered,” Routten said. “I strive to be that teacher who does not give up on a student, that teacher who sees potential in all students and uses various strategies to tap into that potential to help my students do or become what they never thought possible.”

The state says that Brackney held to her teaching motto: “Lead with love.” She used her eight years to promote SouthWest Edgecombe’s POWER Initiative which structured time in the school day for students to attend clubs, receive tutoring, and other activities.

The other seven finalists were:

  • Anita Rubino-Thomas with Currituck County High School
  • Jennifer Blake with Carthage Elementary School in Moore County
  • Will Marrs with Davie County High School
  • Sarah Lefebvre with Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle School in Union County
  • Erik Mortensen with Watauga High School
  • Heather Smith with Waynesville Middle School in Haywood County
  • Lee Haywood with Uhwarrie Charter Academy

The Teacher of the Year will be named on April 5th in Cary.

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