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Matz and Meeks win employee awards

Gaston County Schools recognizes New Teacher and Teacher Assistant of the Year

Gaston County Schools held a reception on Tuesday, May 21 at the Schiele Museum to announce the New Teacher of the Year and Teacher Assistant of the Year for 2019-2020.

Amanda Matz of North Belmont Elementary received the Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year recognition, and Stephania Meeks of Webb Street School earned the Teacher Assistant of the Year honor.  The New Teacher of the Year award is named for the late Linda Israel Rader, who began the school district’s professional development program for teachers.

The awards program recognized 52 employees for outstanding dedication and commitment to students.

The Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year award nominees were:

■ Hannah Allen - Bessemer City Central Elementary
■ Raegan Beaty - Brookside Elementary
■ Stephanie Blackwell - Bessemer City Primary
■ Woodrow Boyles - Highland School of Technology (finalist)
■ Natalie Childers - Gardner Park Elementary
■ Victoria Freeman - Catawba Heights Elementary (finalist)
■ Houston Gilmore - Cherryville High
■ Karis Guy - Belmont Central Elementary
■ Ashley Harris - Springfield Elementary
■ Bethany Hartley - Hunter Huss High
■ Rachel Helms - York Chester Middle (finalist)
■ Ashley Hicks - Warlick Academy (finalist)
■ Serina Holbrooks - Lowell Elementary
■ Allison Ingle - Page Primary
■ Samantha Koenders - Grier Middle
■ April Martin - Mount Holly Middle
■ Amanda Matz - North Belmont Elementary (winner)
■ Takasha Morrow - Carr Elementary
■ Sullivan Owens - W.C. Friday Middle
■ Sandra Pilgrim - Pleasant Ridge Elementary
■ Leah Poplin - Bessemer City High
■ Abby Rouse - Robinson Elementary
■ Kara Smith - Kiser Elementary
■ Jacqueline Styrcula - Sherwood Elementary
■ Eric Surretsky - Bessemer City Middle
■ Christine Tileston - Webb Street School
■ Abigail Van Aken - Pinewood Elementary
■ Ashley Warlick - H.H. Beam Elementary

The Teacher Assistant of the Year award nominees were:

■ Kasey Barnes - Hawks Nest STEAM Academy
■ Victoria Brown - Chapel Grove Elementary (finalist)
■ Lisa Byrd - Lingerfeldt Elementary (finalist)
■ Katrina Cherry - York Chester Middle
■ Catherine Cox - Springfield Elementary
■ Christy Crumbley - Sherwood Elementary
■ Caroline Davenport - North Belmont Elementary
■ Connie Farris - Tryon Elementary
■ Jackie Fleming - Sadler Elementary
■ Timmy Fleming - W.B. Beam Intermediate (finalist)
■ Angela Hargett - Bessemer City Primary
■ Cheryl Hudson - Warlick Academy
■ Carolyn Jones - Robinson Elementary
■ Alice Krawczyk - Lowell Elementary (finalist)
■ Rhonda Love - Costner Elementary
■ Karon Mackins-Armstrong - Gardner Park Elementary
■ Teresa Mauney - Carr Elementary
■ Lisa McNair - New Hope Elementary
■ Stephania Meeks - Webb Street School (winner)
■ Amy Mistry - W.A. Bess Elementary
■ Amanda Shipman - Pleasant Ridge Elementary
■ Kelli Traywick - Catawba Heights Elementary (finalist)
■ Emily Vaughn - Pinewood Elementary
■ Helen Waters - Page Primary

■ About the Winners
Here is a look at what was said about the winners during the awards ceremony:

Linda Rader New Teacher of the Year - Amanda Matz, North Belmont Elementary
“Ms. Matz is a second grade teacher who possesses all the characteristics of what a phenomenal teacher should be.  She constantly demonstrates excellence with classroom instruction. She is the teacher who has a love and passion for elementary education.  She has the knack of making the reading, writing, math, social studies, and science curriculum come to life. She is a teacher who has the desire to not only understand the curriculum, but to teach it in a way that inspires students to want to learn.  Her students say that she is the best.”

Teacher Assistant of the Year - Stephania Meeks, Webb Street School
“From designing an annual classroom T-shirt to whipping up pancakes and learning how to create SMART Board lessons, one would be hard pressed to find a harder working instructional assistant than Mrs. Meeks.  She has worked at Webb Street for more than 20 years and has done it all with a smile and a positively contagious attitude. Her impact is hard to miss when she walks down the hall and all of the students call her by name.  Rarely does one find a teacher assistant who can manage challenging situations with the grace of Mrs. Meeks.”