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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.

Jackson Park Elementary School

Dazzle is a great 5th grade student and an all-around great classmate at Jackson Park!  She is a hard worker, always willing to collaborate with others, and is a great helper in the classroom and throughout the building.  She is a great example of the school-wide expectations of being safe, responsible, and respectful, and has earned a leadership role as a bus monitor and helper with kindergartners at dismissal.  Dazzle also has a strong drive to excel in her academics, focusing during lessons, giving her best, and being willing to ask questions.

Dazzle is not only a hard worker but also possesses a natural ability to connect with others, always approaching others with warmth, kindness, and a genuine desire to make friends.

Kendrick Nash is recognized for following school expectations, and for encouraging others to follow them too.  He can be heard reminding his fellow classmates to be respectful during game at recess, reminding them it’s just a game and everyone can still be friends.  At the lunch table, he reminds his peers to make good choices with their words and actions.  Kendrick offers words of help and friendship to those who feel alone and reaches out to make people feel special and included.

In the classroom, Kendrick doesn’t just care about his grades, he cares about learning.  He asks great questions and reaches out for support.  He seeks to understand the how and why behind an answer.  His attitude and awareness towards learning helps him master the material and showcase his outstanding work ethic.

As a parent volunteer, Ashley’s commitment and contributions to Jackson Park Elementary speak to her dedication to supporting student learning.  Her involvement in the classroom enriches the educational experiences of all students, and her willingness to take on the role of a long-term substitute showcases her dedication and passion for the students at Jackson Park.  The staff at Jackson Park have certainly noted and appreciated the genuine care and enthusiasm she exhibits.

Despite her relatively short time with KCS, Sarah has seamlessly integrated into the Jackson Park family.  Serving as a bus driver, she demonstrates kindness and compassion towards students each day.  She is committed to student safety, ensuring students arrive to and from school securely.  Sarah also goes above and beyond to create a positive environment for students on her bus; her ever-present smile and patience not only brighten students’ days but contribute to the overall success of the school day.

Sonya epitomizes dedication and commitment.  In her thirteen-year tenure as a Teacher Assistant at Jackson Park, she has played a pivotal role in student success by leading small groups and seamlessly stepping in to lead the class when needed.  Her willingness to go above and beyond is evident in the many ways she serves, including driving buses for field trips, enriching classroom experiences, and supporting her fellow staff members.

Her kind and courteous demeanor and her tireless efforts to advance the mission of Jackson Park make her an indispensable asset to the school community.

August is a stellar 4th Grade Teacher at Jackson Park Elementary School who has taken on a variety of roles to help impact students in a positive way.  As the social media coordinator, she engages with the school community in innovating ways, creating visually interesting graphics to add a touch of professionalism and positivity to school outreach efforts.  August’s roles on the MTSS team demonstrates her commitment to ensuring every student’s needs are met, and being part of the Leadership Team allows her to help shape the school’s direction with insight and empathy.  Beyond all of her organizational roles, August’s genuine care shines through in her interactions with students and staff alike, and she cultivates a culture of encouragement and support, empowering others to thrive.

The Board was also pleased to recognize the Hilbish Ford Teacher of the Month, Katie Gibson, a 2nd grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary School.

Katie Gibson is a wonderful example of the amazing teachers we have in Kannapolis City Schools.  Ms. Gibson is a second grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary School, and is so loved there she received four nominations from current and past students and parents.  The nominations spoke to how patient, attentive, loving, and creative Ms. Gibson is.  They wanted to recognize her for the dedication and compassion she shows all of her students. One previous student shared how Ms. Gibson’s investment in one-on-one instruction helped her grow academically, and the parent of that student echoed those sentiments, stating, “Ms. Gibson is an exceptional human being and teacher.  She took her time with my daughter and made sure she was improving, never giving up on her.”

Katie, we’re extremely proud that you are a part of our KCS family, and we’re delighted that Hilbish Ford is honoring you with the Hilbish Ford Outstanding Teacher Award for May. Congratulations!

2024 NCCTM Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Teacher Recognition

This year the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will recognize an Outstanding Elementary Math Teacher from each district. Our nominees from KCS were chosen by their school leadership and will be recognized today along with our district winner. These teachers exemplify mathematics teaching excellence by nurturing students’ enthusiasm for mathematics through everyday classroom experiences and by motivating students to excel in mathematics. 

Congratulations to this year’s nominees! 

Savannah Johnson Ms. Johnson is a third grade teacher at Shady Brook Elementary.

Twyonia Butler Ms. Butler is a fourth grade teacher at George Washington Carver Elementary. 

Katie Gibson Ms. Gibson is a second grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary.

Christopher Vadney Mr. Vadney is a third grade teacher at North Kannapolis Elementary

Kaysea Torrence Ms. Torrence is a third grade teacher at Jackson Park Elementary 

Our final nominee is Stephanie Brooks. Ms Brooks is a third grade teacher at Fred L Wilson and she is being recognized today as our Kannapolis City Schools Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Teacher for 2024! 

Ms. Brooks creates a positive classroom environment that engages her students in math problem solving and sense-making. Her students collaborate to reason, solve, and explain mathematics. She effectively facilitates meaningful math discourse focused on strategies and understanding. Ms. Brooks meets the needs of her students through scaffolding that allows students to build on their prior

knowledge and grow in their understanding. Through the use of hands on manipulatives to support conceptual understanding, real world problems to promote application, and formative assessment to provide regular feedback, Ms. Brooks is able to grow students’ confidence in their ability to think critically and be successful with any math concept. 

Stephanie will be recognized at the NCCTM State Conference in Winston-Salem. In addition, her name will appear in the Fall issue of the Centroid and on NCCTM’s and NCDPI’s website. Congratulations, Stephanie, on your recognition as our 2024 KCS Outstanding Elementary Mathematics Teacher! 

Congratulations to all of our nominees for this recognition of your outstanding math instruction and thank you for all that you do for KCS!


Many students from Kannapolis City Schools recently participated in the SkillsUSA state competition in April.  We are thrilled to share the following teams who placed at this year’s event:

  • HS Carpentry Showcase – 4th Place

  • HS Customer Service – 5th Place

  • HS Drone – 4th PlaceHS Opening/Closing Ceremony – 3rd Place – NJROTC

  • HS Robotics – 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Places

  • MS Robotics:  Urban Search and Rescue – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Places (clean sweep!)

Additionally, Kannapolis Middle Schools SkillsUSA chapter earned their first Chapter of Excellence award!!

Tonight, we especially want to recognize this amazing team, Grace Laukaitis and Halainn Mineo, who took first place in Robotics:  Urban Search and Rescue.  The Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue Challenge: Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) enables students to create a mobile robot like those employed by emergency service personnel (fire, police, and military). The robot is designed to secure an area by locating, neutralizing, moving, and disposing of explosive materials. The demand for designers, skilled technicians, and manufacturing workers who are fluent in mechanical design and electrical systems and highly skilled in troubleshooting and maintenance of robotic systems is projected to continue to grow. The current generation of students is expected to take artificial intelligence and robotics into the evolving world of emergency services, finding new ways to help trained personnel react more quickly and effectively. Therefore, it is imperative that our future labor force be on the leading edge of current and emerging technologies and possess the technical and team skills necessary to maintain industry leadership in design, manufacture, maintenance, and operation of life-saving robotic equipment.

These young ladies have gone above and beyond in prototyping, building, modifying, and remotely piloting their own robot. They have spent hundreds of hours practicing and even volunteered additional hours outside of their normal practice times to further hone their skills. They are truly dedicated, hard-working, and amazing students. We are so incredibly proud of them and cannot wait to see the wonderful things they will accomplish at the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia this summer.

Congratulations to you both, and best of luck as you compete in Atlanta!


Angela Brock has been serving up delicious meals at KMS for four years and served in Head Start and at Jackson Park for nearly five years in other capacities in years past.  It has been a joy to see Angela’s connection with students.  She has shown a patience as she works to make sure their needs are met.  Her energy in the cafeteria will be greatly missed by her coworkers as she begins this new adventure.

Hannah Chisholm has been in public education for nearly 29 years, and nearly all of those years have been as a teacher at A. L. Brown High School.  In addition to being an Adobe teacher in the CTE department, Hannah is known for her work behind the scenes in things like the Project Management class and the school store.  She also loves getting into the holiday spirit, arranging Secret Santa exchanges, putting stockings out for staff, and decorating the campus with poinsettias.  She will be missed for the joy she brings throughout the building and for her dedication to the school.

Sherry Elvington has spent the last 18 years of her career serving as a teacher, first at KMS and then A. L. Brown.  Sherry is known and appreciated for pushing students to be their best at all times, encouraging them to meet and exceed expectations and setting them up for success.  To motivate students to strive to excel on EOGs, she may have even done splits as a reward for their hard work!!  Sherry will be missed as an instrumental team member at A. L. Brown, working to ensure the school’s actions are aligned with their goals and engaging in the difficult conversations with students, staff and parents, all in an effort to do what is right.

Donna Gerdes’ smiling face and supportive attitude are just two of the many things that will be missed in the hallways of Shady Brook next year.  Ms. Gerdes is known for her kind heart and her ability to connect with both students and their families as the school counselor.  She has built strong relationships with the Shady Brook community over the years and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to connecting families with needed resources.  She has gone above and beyond to assist those around her, has provided amazing lessons to grow the social and problem-solving skills of students, and has been a foundation to the Shady Brook staff.

Larry Goodman has been a fixture in cafeterias in KCS for more than 30 years, serving first at Fred L. Wilson, then the old KMS, and now at the KMS 6th grade building.  Larry has shared that he has loved his job, the students, and KCS.  He said, “KCS has been really good to me!”  His coworkers, school staff and the School Nutrition department will miss him for the great care and concern he shows his fellow employees.

Doretha Grier has been a teacher in Kannapolis City Schools for more than 31 years!!   Doretha’s leadership amongst her KMS team, as well as her advocacy for new teachers and KCS families have made such an impact.  She can often be heard celebrating co-workers who have reached milestones, seen leading a dance during a staff meeting or school event, or overheard in song and praise when remembering a departed colleague.  Her late night messages of encouragement and appreciation have left a lasting impact and impression, and her legacy is forever engrained in the hallways of KMS.

Marty Lineberger has made a huge impact on both students and staff during his 20+ years as the Art Teacher at Fred L. Wilson.  From piloting the Freddy Airways snack cart, to being slimed by students, to his love for Chick-fil-A and sweet tea, to his passion for sharing a love of art with students, Marty brings joy and excitement to each day.  His Fred L. Wilson coworkers have shared how much they will miss lunch conversations, the way he creatively engages students, his dedication and care for the art program, and, most of all, the daily camaraderie and meaningful moments shared!

Kim Richard has almost 29 years of service with Kannapolis City Schools, and has mostly recently been serving at KMS as an 8th grade English Language Arts teacher.  Kim has a heartfelt concern for students’ wellbeing, often being the first to reach out regarding a student’s mental state or academic performance.  She is proactive in her approach, in and out of the classroom, consistently problem-solving potential issues throughout the school day.  Her KMS teammates will miss her collaboration and contributions.

Emily Todd has served in public schools for close to 28 years, and 20 of them have been right here in KCS.  As a first grade teacher at G. W. Carver, Emily incorporates her love for the arts comes through in her classroom instruction.  As she teaches, she puts on a show for her young learners.  The inflection in her voice and excitement in her movements grabs students’ attention and engages them in learning.  Her love for zebras is evident throughout her room and her students always love it when she wears her zebra-striped hat in class!

Carol Westoby has been an important member of the KMS School Nutrition team for six years.  Carol is a very caring person, often making homemade treats for her coworkers and making them feel special on their birthdays.  She has shared they feel like family to her.  And they miss her straight forward and matter-of-fact demeanor because they appreciate always knowing where she stands.