Jackson County Public Schools is pleased to announce that Dawn Gilchrist has been selected as the Western Region Teacher of the Year. Gilchrist, a 33 year veteran educator, is a high school English and Language Arts teacher at Jackson Community School in Sylva. She received the award after competing with other outstanding educators representing the 14 public school districts of western North Carolina.
Amy Laughter, Regional Education Facilitator for the NC Department of Public Instruction, was on the selection committee and believes Gilchrist's heart for kids made the difference. "Dawn was selected because of the genuine, caring and compassionate way she works with students. Her passion for students and her subject matter is evident in all she does," said Laughter.
Jackson Community School Principal Angela Lunsford is amazed by Gilchrist's ability to engage and connect with students. "Our kids think she's a rock star," said Lunsford. "She always keeps what is best for them at the forefront."
Indeed, Gilchrist has a history of being a beloved and highly respected classroom teacher. "She sees us for what we are; not what we have been," said one current student. "One of the most influential teachers of my life," a former student commented in a recent social media post.
The award was announced on Friday, December 13 at a surprise reception attended by state and local officials including the current state and regional teachers of the year. Also in attendance were county commissioners, school board members, district office staff and members of Gilchrist's family.
Gilchrist will compete with representatives from the other seven regions in North Carolina as well as the NC charter school teacher of the year for the title of "Burroughs-Wellcome NC Teacher of the Year" which will be announced at a ceremony in April.