- W.A. Bess Elementary School
Awards presented to ‘Of the Year’ winners
Gaston County Schools honors outstanding educators
Truist sponsors annual Evening of Excellence ceremony that culminated with the announcement of the Gaston County Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023
Four employees captured the most prestigious awards presented by Gaston County Schools during the 2022 Evening of Excellence ceremony. The program sponsored by Truist was held Thursday, May 5 at the Gaston Country Club.
Steven Loudon of W.C. Friday Middle School was named the Gaston County Teacher of the Year, and Kristin Kiser of Lowell Elementary School earned the Gaston County Principal of the Year recognition. They will represent Gaston County Schools in the regional competitions for 2022-2023.
Additionally, Aimee Tolleson of South Point High School received the Assistant Principal of the Year distinction, and Angela Calamia, director of school nutrition, was named the Central Office Administrator of the Year.
As sponsor of the recognition ceremony, Truist presented to the Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year a handcrafted Truist Educator Apple and $1,250 to use for professional advancement. Each Principal of the Year and Teacher of the Year finalist received $250 to use for professional advancement.
The Evening of Excellence ceremony coincided with the celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-6) in Gaston County Schools. The program paid tribute to the school system’s most outstanding teachers, administrators, and certified support staff for their exceptional leadership and many contributions. The award nominees, finalists, and recipients are considered to be among the top public school employees in the state.
Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker said, “The Evening of Excellence program gives us an opportunity to bring attention to the exemplary efforts of our teachers, administrators, and others, who go above and beyond expectations to inspire success and a lifetime of learning. We congratulate the award recipients and applaud all educators in Gaston County Schools for what they do every day to support children and encourage them to learn, achieve, and thrive.”
Dr. Booker added, “We would like to thank Truist for sponsoring this important employee recognition program. Truist is a significant community partner for Gaston County Schools, and we sincerely appreciate the bank’s support of the Evening of Excellence ceremony so we can honor our outstanding educators in a very special way.”
The Evening of Excellence ceremony returned to its traditional dinner and awards program format this year at the Gaston Country Club after being held virtually in 2020 and outdoors at CaroMont Health Park in 2021 because of the pandemic.
The awards ceremony will air on Spectrum Cable Channel 21 (the Education Station for Gaston County Schools) the week of May 23-29 at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. each day. The ceremony will air on television at other times throughout the summer, and the video will be available on the Gaston County Schools website and YouTube channel.
Below is biography information for each award recipient:
■ Gaston County Teacher of the Year
The 2022-2023 Gaston County Teacher of the Year is Steven Loudon from W.C. Friday Middle School. The award is presented by Truist.
Loudon teaches seventh grade math at W.C. Friday and has 15 years of experience in education. A graduate of Emmaus Bible College with a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and youth ministry, he earned master’s degrees in elementary education and school administration from UNC-Charlotte. Loudon previously taught fifth grade at Pinewood Elementary for seven years and served as an assistant principal at Woodhill Elementary as well as a middle school math curriculum facilitator.
■ Gaston County Principal of the Year
The 2022-2023 Gaston County Principal of the Year is Kristin Kiser from Lowell Elementary School. The award is presented by Truist.
A graduate of Western Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, Kiser earned a master’s degree in remediation/elementary education from Francis Marion University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Winthrop University. She began her teaching career in Waynesville, N.C. and taught in South Carolina before coming to Gaston County in 2002. She previously served as principal at Bessemer City Primary, Pinewood Elementary, and Rankin Elementary.
■ Assistant Principal of the Year
The 2022-2023 Gaston County Schools Assistant Principal of the Year is Aimee Tolleson from South Point High School.
Tolleson joined Gaston County Schools in 2018. She started her career in education as an English teacher in Columbia, S.C. and later taught for the Granbury Independent School District in Texas where she also served as a reading and math intervention instructional specialist and dean of instruction. Tolleson earned a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from the University of South Carolina and obtained a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton State University.
■ Central Office Administrator of the Year
The 2022-2023 Gaston County Schools Central Office Administrator of the Year is Angela Calamia, director of school nutrition.
Calamia joined Gaston County Schools in 2018 after serving as a nutritionist and director of school nutrition operations for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She holds an associate degree in food processing technology and a bachelor’s degree in clinical and general management dietetics from the State University of New York as well as a master’s degree in clinical dietetics from the New York Institute of Technology. Prior to moving to North Carolina, she worked as the director of nutritional services at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in New York.