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May Board of Education Recognitions

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

A.L. Brown High School

Makayla Barber: Makayla Barber is a 10th grade student, role model, and well-rounded individual. Involved in theater, dance, weightlifting, and interior design, Makayla truly embraces the opportunities that A. L. Brown has to offer.  Makayla holds a 4.0 weighted GPA, takes numerous honors classes, and truly cares about her education. In fact, the other day when Makayla was struggling with some geometry, she spent her entire lunch period studying terms and doing her review sheet with Dr. Newell rather than hanging out at lunch with her friends. Makayla is also a leader in the school, as she is the event coordinator for Student Council and helps to plan for spirit weeks and other school wide events. Further, Makayla is a leader for her peers in that she does not involve herself in the drama of high school, treats others with respect, and accepts responsibility for herself and her actions. Most importantly though, Makayla is compassionate and helpful to everyone she comes in contact with. Not only will you find Makayla smiling and speaking positively at all times, but if you come to 1st lunch, you will see Makayla helping to clean the lunchroom every single day. Makayla does all of these things because she wants to show the kind of person she is. She doesn’t ask for recognition, but we want her to know that she shows us daily what it means to #beaWonder.

Jabari Johnson: Jabari Johnson is a senior at A. L. Brown and someone we will truly miss in a month when he graduates. Jabari has a 3.6 weighted GPA, works a part-time job outside of school, and is truly a leader in EVERYthing he does. Since the first day he entered A. L. Brown High School, Jabari has made sure other people are taken care of, reminding his teachers to clock in, helping them make the perfect cup of coffee, and being a peer helper for his classmates. Jabari always completes his assignments on time, holds himself to high standards, and advocates for the right way, even if that is not the popular way. This year specifically, Jabari has helped Ms. Ray by bringing lunch orders over to ISS on a daily basis. When the conversation came up about the need for lunch delivery, Jabari did not hesitate to be the one to take this role. His initiative to help when needed is much appreciated. Jabari truly is a phenomenal young man; one every teacher loves to teach, every student loves to befriend, and every parent can definitely be proud of. Jabari’s teachers shared that “Jabari makes our day from the minute he walks into the classroom. We are honored to have him in our program and have already started to cry about graduation.” Everyone at A. L. Brown feels the same way and we wish Jabari good luck next year!

Meg Lemelin: Meg Lemelin is A. L. Brown’s PTO president, parent of a junior, and community member who truly loves A. L. Brown High School. Meg puts A. L. Brown students first whenever she can. She volunteers her time, energy and even money to help our students. She leads monthly PTO meetings where she specifically asks about the needs that the school has, welcomes new members with open arms, and inspires collaboration amongst all team members. This year, Meg led the PTO in doing thank you baskets for our substitutes, gathered gift card donations to hand out to staff members at monthly staff meetings, organized and served breakfast for teacher appreciation week, and helped fund uniforms for the A. L. Brown clothing closet. Meg also attended the Florida trip for Cheerleading Nationals and didn’t just cheer on the team, but made sandwiches for the athletes and coaches that were on the trip each day of competition. Meg’s ultimate goal is to see our students succeed, and she will work tirelessly to help students achieve their goals. Even more importantly, Meg does this all with a smile on her face. We are so lucky to have Meg at A. L. Brown and look forward to one more year with her leading the PTO. 

Eric Slaughter: Mr. Slaughter is a WONDERful addition to the A. L. Brown family. Mr. Slaughter is currently filling a long-term vacancy in the Core and Sustainable classroom and he is doing a fabulous job. When the position opened up and we spoke with Mr. Slaughter about the possibility, he jumped in with 2 feet, learning everything he could about the program from Mr. Busse, other colleagues, and varied resources. It is clear Mr. Slaughter takes pride in what he does, as he works each day to help students meet the standards needed while also giving them hands-on experience in the shop, such as building the set for this spring’s musical production. Additionally, Mr. Slaughter has volunteered his time to attend Skills USA competitions with his students, has supported other substitutes in the building, and has trained himself in the skills that he needs to be successful. Mr. Slaughter is a lifelong learner who recently finished his Business degree and this attitude is something he instills in his students. Mr. Slaughter is dependable, dedicated, and focused on building positive relationships with students and staff. There will never be a day you do not see Mr. Slaughter smiling and engaging positively with those around him. We are so lucky to have Mr. Slaughter at A. L. Brown on a daily basis!

Lorna Brown-Ray: Lorna Brown-Ray is team Wonders all the way. As the ISS Coordinator, Ms. Ray often finds herself in the midst of difficult conversations with students. Ms. Ray welcomes these conversations as learning opportunities where her goal is to help the student make better choices in the future. Within the ISS classroom, Ms. Ray has piloted the use of restorative practices and recently joined the Restorative Practices training group to help support her colleagues in the implementation of these strategies. Ms. Ray is also a member of the MTSS team, where she models tier 2 and tier 3 practices by traveling to her students during Support Block to ensure they get their necessary check-in time each week. Due to her supportive practices, Ms. Ray is a trusted adult for many students in the building. Beyond the classroom, Ms. Ray volunteers to help out at events held at A. L. Brown, is willing to work with students who do not have ISS but need social-emotional support, be a mother figure for students who need one, call home and talk through concerns with parents, and support her colleagues however they ask. Further, Ms. Ray does everything with a positive attitude that is infectious to others. She never backs down from a challenge, and in fact can often be found on the front line of those challenges. We could not do what we do at A. L. Brown with the love and support of Ms. Ray.

Rick Mills: Rick Mills is a dedicated bus driver, not only for KCS, but for A. L. Brown. Rick is always willing to drive for band, athletics, field trips, and any other event that our students are part of. In all of these instances, Rick can be counted on to be on time, get students where they need to be safely, and ensure the rules of the road are followed. In particular though, we want to shout out Rick Mills for saving the day this year for our Winter Guard team. You see, it was a Friday afternoon at the time the Winter Guard team was supposed to leave for Atlanta for a competition when the charter bus company realized they assigned us a bus, but had failed to assign us a driver. KCS transportation helped immediately and said- we have a bus if you have a driver. Rick Mills agreed to be that driver. He had just ended his yellow bus route for the day, but he still agreed to go home, pack, and drive a team of Winter Guard competitors to Atlanta on an activity bus….for the weekend. On the way home, Rick battled bus issues, traffic jams, and teenagers, but did all of that without complaint. We are very lucky to have Rick as a driver, but also as someone who we know cares about helping out and making sure all students can succeed.

Chef Tyler Williams: Chef Tyler Williams embodies what it means to be a Wonder. Daily, Chef Williams shows inclusivity as he welcomes all students into his classroom, creating a safe space for students to be themselves, where they know good things in their lives will be honored and they will be given time to affirm each other’s strengths. Chef Williams also models growth, as in his three years as a beginning teacher, he has transformed and modernized the culinary program at A. L. Brown. For example, when during COVID, Chef Williams provided take home bags to his students so they could have hands-on labs at home or when he hosted a Culinary cook-out with his students mirroring the likes of Top Chef. Chef Williams has also reached beyond his own content to grow both the arts and CTE, volunteering his time to help at Night of The Arts, the dance performance, band concert, theater performances, and the musical, as well as attending Skills USA to learn how to help his students better hone their skills so they can participate in the future. Chef Williams’ dedication to students and the program inside and outside of the classroom is amazing. Chef Williams also leads at A. L. Brown as a Capturing Kids Hearts Process Champion and a department leader who models collaborative, truthful, and honest conversations. Students and staff alike would tell you that if you need someone in your corner, see Chef Williams.

The Board was also pleased to recognize the Hilbish Ford Teacher of the Month, Mike Wolford, social studies teacher from A.L. Brown High School.

Mike Wolford is a truly amazing Social Studies teacher at A. L. Brown High School.  The student who nominated Mr. Wolford spoke about how nervous he’d been to take honors level history as a 9th grader and how wonderful Mr. Wolford has been at encouraging and supporting him.  He said, “Mr. Wolford is one of the best teacher I have ever had.  He has helped me realize that I am capable of more than I thought.  I don’t have many positive male remodels in my life and Mr. Wolford is definitely someone I look up to.”

Principal Dr. Sara Newell shared, “While Mike doesn’t like a lot of fanfare, it is important to us that everyone knows how dedicated, creative, and collaborative Mike is. Mike is a team player who supports the curriculum development of World History. He is a creative planner who works with specialists throughout the building to hold living museums with his students, take his students on VR field trips, and bring to life important historical time periods such as the Holocaust through his World History curriculum. Mr. Wolford is also a relationship builder who cares about the success of his students. While holding them accountable, Mr. Wolford’s students know that he wants the best for them and they rise to his expectations. Mr. Wolford is dependable, honest, and works to improve on a daily basis. 

Mike 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 May. Congratulations!