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Terry Hennings is the 2023 Teacher of the Year

Terry Hennings, a Civic Literacy and African American Studies teacher at Garner Magnet High, is the 2023 Wake County Public School System Teacher of the Year. 


Hennings chose teaching as a second career after having served in the United States Air Force for 25 years. He has been Garner Magnet High’s Civic Literacy and African American Studies teacher for grades 9-12 since July 2017.


Hennings holds a Master of Arts degree in teaching from N.C. State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Troy University and an associate’s degree in applied science from the Community College of the Air Force.


When sharing his instructional style, Hennings wrote, “My time in the U.S. Air Force has provided a unique opportunity to insert my own experiences and include personal, culturally relevant experiences. Once students discover the personal connection I have with their culture, race or ethnicity, it increases the opportunity for meaningful bonds to form.”


Hennings added that the pandemic highlighted the importance of social-emotional needs of students. 


“My relationship with my students is the foundation upon which everything else rests. From the moment a student enters my classroom, the goal is for them to feel welcome, safe and at ease,” Hennings said. He added that he has initiated protocols to help strengthen students’ confidence and communication skills.


Hennings serves on the WCPSS Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council and as Garner High’s Black Student Union Club advisor. He also has served on the school’s Equity Team and as a Civic Literacy Professional Learning Community Leader.


As Teacher of the Year, Hennings will participate in the Go Global NC international study program in South Korea during the summer of 2024. The trip is sponsored by the Dan Royster Memorial Teacher Award, in honor of a former WCPSS science teacher.


Hennings will also have the use of a 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe, compliments of Capital Chevrolet, for the next year.


In addition, he received an engraved award, a $50 gift card to Angus Barn, a $1,000 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 65-inch flat screen TV compliments of Homes For Heroes; a $50 Target gift card compliments of Eplee + Associates; a Chromebook compliments of Lenovo a gift bag from Crossroads Chick-fil-A; and an autographed hockey stick and t-shirt donated by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The following video was created for Hennings' submission as a finalist, and in it you will get to know him a bit better and hear from his colleagues and students regarding why they thought he should receive the honor.