HOLLY RIDGE, N.C. (WNCT) —Banners, streamers, and hundreds of excited kids gathered in front of Dixon Elementary as one of their own came returned on Friday with a special title.
Kindergarten teacher Lisa Godwin was named the 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina teacher of the year during an awards luncheon in Cary Thursday. She’s the second teacher in Onslow County to receive it.
Godwin arrived back to school on Friday morning to a red carpet celebration.
“I’m excited to see Ms. Godwin get the recognition she deserves,” kindergartner Lincoln Darner said. “She cares about everybody and she loves people.”
“What makes her a good teacher is she loves us all and she does a whole bunch of stuff to help us learn,” Adallyn Lankas, one of Godwin’s students, said.
Surf City officially deemed April 7th as Lisa Godwin Day.
“It’s just overwhelming to the city of Surf City,” Mayor Douglas Medlin said. “We’re big enough to be happy. But small enough to be family.”
Godwin, who’s been teaching at Dixon since 2014, says winning the award is overwhelming and a testament to her love for the profession.
“Teaching is not a job for me, it’s my mission,” Godwin said. “It’s my purpose in life. Every day when I walk through those doors, I know that I have a job to do and that’s to raise these little ones to be the best they can be.”
With her platform, Godwin says she hopes to be a voice for teachers across the state.
“I’d love to see our community leaders, our business leaders, our legislators really put stock in our public schools and to really get to know us again because maybe they’ve become a little disconnected from us. They don’t know the great things that are going on inside of our classrooms, and I’d love to invite them in.”
Godwin’s been teaching for 19 years. She received her master’s in education from UNC-Chapel Hill.
She began her classroom career in 1997 as an instructional assistant then served as a kindergarten teacher, fifth-grade teacher, administrative intern and assistant principal in Sanford, N.C. before joining Onslow County Schools in 2012 as an assistant principal at Meadow View Elementary.
She was one of nine regional finalists selected from North Carolina’s 94,421 classroom teachers.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who announced the winner year’s winner, said Godwin represents the very best talent in North Carolina’s schools.
“Every day, Lisa gives her students the support and encouragement that lay an essential foundation for them to keep learning across the grades and beyond,” Johnson said. “She reaches out to their parents to build trust and reinforce learning in the home, and she leads her colleagues with respect and by example.”
Godwin is a mentor teacher at Dixon Elementary, supporting new teachers, and serves on several OCS groups, including the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, Every Student Succeeds Act Committee and the district’s Quality Council.
Outside the classroom, Godwin partners with parents to ensure they are involved with their child’s education by facilitating workshops in churches and at local events. She has podcasts and videos linked to her web page to allow parents to see what instruction looks like in her classroom and she provides parents with materials and strategies to reinforce academic review.
As the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Godwin will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive an automobile to use during the year thanks to Flow Automotive, the opportunity to attend a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, an engraved vase, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, and the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC.