Heroes from Tyrrell schools nominated for $10,000 award

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020

School Hero nominations are still taking place across North Carolina. Created by the N.C. Education Lottery, the NC School Heroes program will award $10,000 to ten “heroes” and $10,000 to their school.

This program highlights educators who have made an impact on their school. Nominations can be submitted now through March 15 online at www.ncschoolheroes.com.

The top 200 eligible finalists, determined by the number of likes received, will be judged by a panel of employees of Wunderman Thompson, the sponsor’s creative advertising firm. These judges will narrow down the finalists to ten potential winners.

The judges score entries on a scale of 0 to 5 based on criteria including: “(1) entry must reflect the values of the NCEL; (2) entry must detail the outstanding efforts of the candidate to aid students, and (3) the entry must provide strong emotional resonance.”

As of press time, three stand-out Tyrrell County educators have been nominated: Dixie Armstrong of Tyrrell Elementary School, Casey Council of Columbia Middle School and Sheila Cumiskey of Columbia Middle School.

Armstrong is a third grade teacher at TES. “She has a deep-seated passion for learning” Assistant Principal Joyeria Brothers said. Armstrong was nominated for this award by both Jaye Taylor and Valene Phelps.

Taylor said, “She is truly a role model for all, a hard worker who went after her dream, achieved it, and continues to make an impact on all around her.” Brothers mentioned how Armstrong prepares her students for the real world rather than just focusing on their academic career. “She teaches the whole child,” Brothers said. “Her motto for teaching her students solely relies upon following your dreams, dedication hard work and perseverance,” Phelps added.

Council, a seventh and eighth grade ELA teacher at CMS, was nominated by Brandon Brickhouse and Corey Vanhorn. Brickhouse, a former student of Council’s, said “North Carolina needs more teachers like Mrs. Council; not only does she devote her time to the children at school, she also devotes her time and home for those same children after school hours.” Vanhorn reflected this sentiment, adding: “she puts in countless hours at school and home, preparing for her students.”

Cynthia Debreaux, director of federal programs, EC and student services, said Council “has very calm demeanor and is also very involved with students as far as helping them grow.” Debreaux also said council differentiates instruction for those who are struggling to learn and will provide tutoring service outside of school hours to help her students. “She makes sure activities that students are engaged in expose them to the world around them,” Debreaux added.

Cumiskey is a career tech education teacher at CMS and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Tyrrell County Schools. Rosemary Johnson nominated Cumiskey because “she is the type of person that goes over and beyond in any role she is in.” Johnson remarked on how memorable Cumiskey is.

“She has a gift for compassion for all students,” Debreaux said. She added that Cumiskey works hard to make sure there in equality within the education and services offered at Tyrrell County Schools. “Her expertise in education has been valued,” Debreaux added.

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