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Bolick Named NC Northwest Teacher of the Year

Shea Bolick, Spanish teacher at South Caldwell High School, has been selected as the 2023 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Northwest Teacher of the Year, one of nine regional finalists competing for the prestigious NC Teacher of the Year.

“What an honor it is to be recognized by the State of North Carolina,” Bolick said. “I am thankful to represent so many educators in our great state who are giving their all and putting students first every day.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Bolick during a schoolwide assembly held on Monday at South Caldwell High School in the gym. Leah Carper, the 2022 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Teacher of the Year, unexpectedly walked on the floor and said to Bolick, “Welcome to this assembly - that’s actually all about you. Today, you are being recognized as one of the top teachers in North Carolina!”

Ashely Bandy, current Northwest Teacher of the Year who was also part of the 2023 interview team and the winning announcement said, “Because of your wonderful work as an educator and the impact you’ve had on this community…, you are the winner of the regional teacher of the year.”

The NC Teacher of the Year program recognizes outstanding teachers at the school, regional, and statewide levels. After each school district selects its teacher of the year, they participate in the selection process at the regional level, which involves one of the eight educational service areas or charter schools in North Carolina. Then, each region selects its representative to move on to compete at the state level.

The program has fully resumed its original processes of selection by interviewing and screening after a couple of years of modifications due to the pandemic. The best candidate to represent North Carolina is selected in accordance with national guidelines: a candidate who is dedicated and highly skilled and a candidate who has proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.

Bolick said that teachers everywhere have risen to challenges, “After the past few challenging years we have had, I can honestly say we are all teachers of the year, learning new technology, researching best practices, and adapting our lessons to reach all types of children. I am thankful for the educators and administrators that have inspired me in the past and the present in Caldwell County that made me the educator that I am today, and I am excited to advocate for this region over the next two years.”

The mission of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program is to promote the profession through advocacy and support while recognizing outstanding teaching professionals who are implementing best practices in classrooms across North Carolina.

Since 2013, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) has partnered with the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to honor North Carolina teachers. The state has recognized outstanding teachers through its Teacher of the Year program since 1970.

Once all regional winners are notified, the NCDPI program administrators will announce the timeline for the statewide selection, which generally occurs in the spring.