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April Board of Education Recognitions

The Kannapolis Board of Education was proud to honor outstanding representatives from around the district at its April meeting. 

North Kannapolis Elementary School

Ray Ibarra: Ray Ibarra is a kindergarten student at North Kannapolis Elementary School.  From the first day of school, Ray entered kindergarten as a shining star.  He is extremely intelligent and an academic high achiever.  Ray is a leader in the classroom.  He has excellent relationships with his peers and he is always lending a helping hand to other students.  He always ensures each classmate has a friend to play with during recess and a friend to talk to at lunch.  His teacher, Ms. Carr says, “Ray arrives to school each day and is ready to greet me with a smile and hug.  He is a model student for others and always makes excellent choices in the classroom.”  Ray works really hard in the classroom and he loves PBL Friday where he can use his imagination to build and design.  Ray has wonderful support at home from his mom, dad, and family members.


Emily Acriniega: Emily Acriniega is a fourth-grade student at North Kannapolis Elementary School. Emily is a high academic performer and actively seeks to help others including students and teachers with any task. Emily is kind and goes above and beyond to clean up the classroom or make sure students have materials they need.  She does all of this regardless if someone is watching or not.  She is kind, mature, and always makes good choices. She is a model student and we are very proud of her progress this school year. She is a team leader during project based learning time and challenges her teammates in an encouraging way.


Franny Robinson: Franny Robinson is a parent and active community member who supports North Kannapolis Elementary. Mrs. Robinson is the owner (along with her husband Andy Robinson) of L&L Hawaiian restaurant located in the Afton Ridge area. Mrs. Robinson has always been a strong supporter of North Kannapolis as her three children attend through the school choice program. Mrs. Robinson will drop off tasty dishes from her restaurant for our staff to enjoy throughout the year and it is always a welcomed treat. She sends in bulk classroom supplies throughout the school year and is constantly seeking ways to honor the school or staff. When she is called upon her to help the school she is always willing to step up and volunteer. North Kannapolis appreciates the support from Mrs. Robinson and her family. Mrs. Robinson stated she and her family love being able to give back to the community and support our schools.


Jim Stanwick: Jim Stanwick is the head custodian at North Kannapolis Elementary. Jim, most popularly known to children and staff as “Mr. Jim”, has been a custodian for five years. Mr. Jim is the true hero of North Kannapolis. When Mr. Jim walks the hallways and his keys jangle in his pocket, we listen. His keys sing a song of duty, honor, and dedication. He is vital to maintaining a healthy environment by ensuring the building is extremely clean in all areas. You will not find a dust bunny, a bathroom without paper towels, or trash lying around. Mr. Jim makes sure the school inside and out looks good because he is proud of our school. Dr. Pelusi says, “I refer to Mr. Jim as the “Jim of all trades” because he can truly do anything. He will gladly pick up a paint brush, mop, power tool, pressure washer, broom, or any other tool and help where needed. The most impressive thing about Mr. Jim is that he completes each task with a smile on his face and a positive attitude.” Mr. Jim is a positive role model for students. He greets students each morning and assists with bus unloading and is known to blast his 70s and 80s music while showing off his dance moves. Mr. Jim has taught several students how to play chess during before school care and this group looks forward to this each morning. Mr. Jim is willing to go well above his expected responsibilities and North Kannapolis is extremely grateful and thankful for his service.


Brenda Mercer: Brenda Mercer is the Media Assistant at North Kannapolis Elementary and Forest Park Elementary. Brenda has worked at North Kannapolis for many years as a Teacher Assistant and she transitioned to the Media Assistant position two years ago. Brenda is “one of a kind” and she loves teaching and learning. Brenda takes initiative and collaborates with the media specialist to create engaging lesson plans and enhance the library experience. Brenda is a true “acts of service person” and is always helping others and going out of her way to ensure teachers have what they need. Brenda is always the first person to volunteer to help with anything at school whether it is a family night or baby shower for a staff member. North Kannapolis is very excited to host Brenda as she completes student teaching next year in kindergarten. She has a bright future ahead and we look forward to seeing the success she will have in the classroom. Thank you, Brenda, for all you do for North Kannapolis Elementary School.


Regina Gordon: Regina Gordon is a teacher assistant and bus driver for North Kannapolis Elementary. Mrs. Gordon drives a KCS school bus for both North Kannapolis Elementary and A.L. Brown High School. Mrs. Gordon begins and ends her day on the bus, working long hours, but always comes and goes with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Mrs. Gordon sets high expectations for her bus riders and she always gets students to and from school safely. Mrs. Gordon is always willing to drive for field trips whenever needed. Dr. Pelusi says, “Driving a bus is one of the most difficult jobs in education. Mrs. Gordon drives every single day with grace and positivity.” Thank you for getting KCS students to and from school safely each day. 


Savannah Powell: Savannah Powell is a fifth-grade teacher in her third year at North Kannapolis Elementary. Mrs. Powell is the true definition of a distinguished teacher and the list of her accomplishments continues to grow each year. Mrs. Powell’s classroom focuses on high expectations and infusing STEM in all areas of instruction. Mrs. Powell uses science as a driving force for all subjects and students are consistently engaged in challenging work that aligns with real world experiences. While Mrs. Powell is only in her third year, she has maintained a high level of student achievement throughout the year on student benchmark assessments and her student’s exceeded growth on the End of Grade Tests in reading, math, and science last school year.  Dr. Pelusi says, “I am in complete wonderment of Mrs. Powell’s classroom and the level of rigor and challenge she plans for daily. She teaches with intent and consistency and she uses every available moment of the school day to teach. The growth and achievement scores from her students are a direct result of her dedication and hard work.” Mrs. Powell was voted by her peers to serve on the School Improvement Team, she serves on Teacher Advisory Council, is a lead teacher in LETRS training on the early track, and is currently in the UNCC North Carolina K-6 Mathematics Add-on Endorsement Program. Mrs. Powell was also nominated for the UNCC Alumni Beginning Teacher of the Year Award for 2021-2022. Mrs. Powell is married to her husband, Tyler, and they live with their two golden retrievers, Koda and Kenai.


The Board was also pleased to recognize the Hilbish Ford Teacher of the Month, Christine Hall, 5th grade teacher from North Kannapolis Elementary School.

Christine Hall is an amazing 5th grade teacher at North Kannapolis Elementary School.  The family who nominated Mrs. Hall notes that she takes special care with each student and focuses on their individual learning styles, allowing for student success.  The parent said that after a year and a half of virtual learning and struggling with online instruction, her daughter has grown so much with Mrs. Hall.  The parent went on to say, “She has helped build my daughter into a stronger, more confident 5th grader just in time to make the important transition to middle school.  Mrs. Hall has been a blessing to our family.”

North Kannapolis Principal, Dr. Pelusi says, “Christine Hall is a talented, veteran teacher at North Kannapolis.  Her classroom is fun and students are always engaged in rigorous activities.  She is always willing to go the extra mile and help the school in any way possible.”

Christine we are extremely grateful that you are a part of our KCS family, and we’re delighted that you are being honored with the Hilbish Ford Outstanding Teacher Award for April. Congratulations!