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Four Educators Named First-Year Teachers of the Year

Every year our district honors a group of outstanding teachers from elementary, secondary and special education with the Diane Kent-Parker First-Year Teacher Award. These teachers are recognized for navigating the challenges of a new job with grace, skill and confidence. They serve as models for their colleagues and inspiration for their students.


Principals can nominate any teacher who has made significant professional success in his or her initial year of teaching. Selection committee members review portfolios from nominees and observe them in their classrooms. Based on this rigorous selection process, the following teachers have been chosen to receive the 2018-19 Diane Kent-Parker First-Year Teacher Award:



Teacher celebrating with students

Elementary: Cristina Chase Lane, Reedy Creek Elementary

Reedy Creek Elementary Principal Catherine Yanello wrote, “Ms. Lane is truly a natural. To see her in action, you would never guess that she is a first-year teacher. She has command of her class. Her students not only adore her, but they listen to her and follow her directions. She has developed routines, procedures and structures in her class and students follow them. Two students in particular were not successful academically and behaviorally in second grade, and she has held them both to high expectations. Both of these students are now productive, on-task and experiencing success in third grade. This has been great to witness. Most importantly, right from the start, she began developing relationships with her students. Ms. Lane already knew the value of building relationships and made it a point to focus on getting to know her students and their families. She has a great rapport with all of her students and they know she cares about them. From the moment they arrive, she greets them at the door, speaks to each one, and makes a connection. You can feel the classroom community that she has developed when you visit her classroom.”


Dance teacher celebrating with students


Middle: Caroline Markoch, Ligon Magnet Middle

Ligon GT Magnet Middle School Principal Gretta Dula wrote, “Ms. Markoch is an inspiring young professional whose passion for equity has already made a positive impact on Ligon GT Magnet Middle School’s culture.  Her instructional strengths include the ability to develop positive relationships with students in order to motivate perseverance, and an ability to adjust her teaching for students at all different skill levels.  One student describes this differentiation as follows, ‘She will slow her pace down when you don’t quite ‘got it.’ She has high standards, so she won’t let you move on until you master the move.’”



Teacher getting award from principal



High: Joshua Heaney, Rolesville High

Rolesville High Principal Dhedra Lassiter wrote, “Before Mr. Heaney arrived at Rolesville High, he was already an accomplished musician having performed, instructed and adjudicated in prestigious ensembles and events along the eastern half of the United States.  When I called his references, I not only knew that we had a great candidate for the job, but we were also primed for an unusual experience with a first year teacher. And so, he has been and done everything that I could have hoped for our RHS string students and more!”



Teacher shaking hands with Superintendent


Special Education: Rachel Goudeau, Salem Elementary

Salem Elementary Principal Derrick Evans wrote, “Ms. Goudeau’s compassionate and methodical approach to her new Cross Curricular Kindergarten (CCK) classroom has been nothing short of inspiring. One of the first things that we noticed, even before the students arrived, how well she formed a cohesive team with her two instructional assistants. As a first-year teacher, there is an inherent challenge in earning the trust of a veteran CCK instructional assistant. However, Ms. Goudeau was able to do so quickly as she drew on her own experience as a CCK instructional assistant and her own coursework in education. With both a veteran assistant and a brand new one, Ms. Goudeau has proven herself to be humble, open-minded, and collaborative. At the same time, she takes responsibility for the learning in the classroom with student engagement in the standards at the center of all that takes place in the classroom.”