Special Education teacher Caroline Olson named WCPSS Teacher of the Year
May 11, 2022
Broughton Magnet High special education teacher Caroline Olson is the 2022-23 Wake County Public School System Teacher of the Year.
Olson has been an Extended Content Standards teacher in the Special Programs Department at Broughton since 2015. She has also served as a training assistant for the TEACCH Autism Program during the summers of 2014 through 2017.
She is a graduate of Clemson University, with a bachelor’s degree in Special Education. She is licensed in Exceptional Children- Adapted and General Curriculum (K-12) and holds National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist.
When sharing about her instructional style, Olson wrote, “I use a variety of strategies to ensure that all learners are afforded opportunities for success. My students take benchmarks, interest inventories, and transition assessments to provide me with information about what they currently know, what they want to know, and what their interests outside of school are. I use these interests to increase engagement and motivation to meet academic goals.”
In addition, students in Olson’s classroom have thirty minutes per day set aside to do activities that ‘fill them up.’ Students may choose to read, puzzle, talk with classmates or their teachers, draw, play board games, and more.
To address the need for time to relax and connect with others during virtual learning, she set up an optional, daily ‘social half hour’ for students to join.
“What I thought would be a few students joining every now and then turned out to be nearly the entire classroom connecting with each other on a daily basis,” Olson said.
Olson serves on the North Carolina Superintendent’s Teacher Leadership Council. She also has served as a curriculum writer for the North Carolina Department of Instruction. She was a Kenan Fellow for Teacher Leadership in 2019-2020 and was named a WCPSS Diane Kent Parker First-Year Teacher of the Year Award winner in Special Education in 2016.
As Teacher of the Year, Olson will participate in the Go Global NC international study program in Chile in the summer of 2023. The trip is sponsored by the Dan Royster Memorial Teacher Award, in honor of a former WCPSS science teacher.
In addition, she received an engraved award, a $100 gift card to Angus Barn, a $1000 check compliments of sponsors, a weekend stay at the Umstead Hotel and Spa with complimentary breakfast at Heron’s Restaurant, a $100 Amazon gift card compliments of sponsors; A Schools For Tools gift bag compliments of Wake Ed. Partnership, a gift bag from Crossroads Chick-fil-A; and an autographed hockey stick and t-shirt donated by the Carolina Hurricanes.