TOY Stories: Lessons from the Watauga County Schools Teachers of the Year

As part of its Sun Belt Conference Extra Yard for Teachers grant, Watauga County Schools (WCS) is partnering with the Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education (RCOE) to share the perspectives and expertise of several of their 2019-2020 Teachers of the Year (TOY). These professional workshops, which are sponsored by the RCOE’s James Center for Student Success and Advising, will provide a valuable opportunity for pre-service teachers to network with and learn from current practitioners.

“Past feedback from pre-service teachers indicates the high value and immediate relevance of conversations with practicing professionals,” said Ike Smith, Director of the James Center for Student Success and Advising.

There are three sessions in the TOY Stories professional development series. The sessions are open to all undergraduate and graduate education majors. 

Session Descriptions

Managing Your Classroom to Build Relationships and Foster Positive Behavior Incentives

Presented by Heather Miller, Parkway School 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year; Carly Mize ’13, Green Valley School 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year; and Kari Riddle ’18, Watauga County Schools 2019-2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year  

  • Date: Thursday - March 25, 2020
  • Time: 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
  • Location: Reich College of Education Gordon Gathering Hall, Room 134

Session Description: Learn strategies for using classroom management styles that build relationships and foster positive behavior incentives in order to manage a regular education classroom. The presenters will share techniques utilized in their own classrooms, and the session will also include time to answer questions or any concerns that new teachers may have when putting in place their own classroom management plans and practices.

Miller received a B.A. in elementary education and a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, both from Virginia Tech. Miller has been a teacher for nine years, working as a private school teacher for a combined classroom, in the EC department, as a fifth-grade teacher for three years, and currently in third-grade at Parkway School in Watauga County. Miller is honored to be Parkway School’s teacher of the year for 2019-2020. 

Mize received a B.S. in elementary education from Appalachian State University and has been a teacher for six years. Mize taught third grade for three years and fifth grade for three years; she currently teaches fifth grade at Green Valley School in Watauga County. Mize also works with Appalachian State University and helps run Family Science Nights for local schools and libraries in and around Watauga County. She is honored to be Green Valley School’s teacher of the year for 2019-2020. 

Riddle received a B.S. in elementary education from Appalachian State University and is in her second year of teaching at Parkway Elementary School in Boone. She teaches third grade and has been blessed with the best students, community, and work family that have taught her so much! Riddle was honored to be the 2019-2020 Rookie Teacher of the Year for Watauga County Schools and is so thankful for the opportunity to work with, learn from, and love on so many amazing students, families, and people in WCS. 

Introduction to Co-Teaching & Teaching Exceptional Children from a GenEd Perspective

Presented by Jennifer Williams ’08, ’09 - Watauga High School 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year  

  • Date: Thursday, March 26, 2020
  • Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: Reich College of Education Gordon Gathering Hall, Room 124-AB

Session Description: During this session, participants will learn about different co-teaching models and learn some techniques to support collaboration between co-teachers. Participants will also learn strategies to help differentiate instruction for all students, including exception children, to ensure success for all students in a general education classroom.  

Williams graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.S. in mathematics, secondary education and a M.A. in mathematics education. She is in her 11th year as a teacher in North Carolina. For the first seven years of her career, Williams was a middle and high school teacher in Ashe County; however, for the past four years, she's been a high school teacher in Watauga County. Williams currently teaches Math 1 and AP Statistics at Watauga High School, where she was recognized as the 2019 Teacher of the Year. Williams is a Desmos Fellow and in 2018 was recognized as an Outstanding Secondary Mathematics Teacher by the North Carolina Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  

Using the 5-Point Scale and Social Stories Behavior Management Strategies

Presented by Tammy Whichard, Hardin Park School 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year

  • Date: Friday - April 24, 2020
  • Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: Reich College of Education, Room 301

Session Description: Learn about The 5-Point Scale and Social Stories, two techniques for managing student behavior in the classroom. The objective of the 5-Point Scale is to teach social and emotional information in a concrete, systematic, and non-judging way. Students who have poor skills in the areas of social thinking or emotional regulation often exhibit challenging behaviors, particularly when facing difficult social situations. 

The scale is a simple but effective way to teach social rules and expectations as well as appropriate behavioral responses. Social Stories are used to teach specific social skills, such as identifying important cues in a given situation; taking another's point of view; understanding rules, routines, situations, upcoming events or abstract concepts; and understanding expectations.

Whichard taught in both Canada and Japan before moving to the United States in 2002. She took some time off to travel before getting back into teaching in 2007 when she decided to focus her energy on special needs populations. She taught in Virginia Beach for eight years before deciding the mountains would be her forever home. Whichard currently co-teaches a first-grade integrated class at Hardin Park School and is the 2019-2020 Hardin Park School Teacher of the Year. She received a B.S. in recreation and physical education from Acadia University, located in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and a Teacher Licensure in special education general curriculum K-12 from Old Dominion University, in Norfolk, Virginia.

About the Extra Yard for Teachers Grant

The Sun Belt Extra Yard for Teachers grant is a $10,000 award from the Sun Belt Conference as part of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) Week initiative. The gift funded a project titled First Teach: Appalachian State University and Watauga County Schools Teacher Leader Professional Development Program (First Teach Program), a partnership focused on the continuing education and professional growth of the WCS 2019 Teachers and Principal of the Year, seven of whom are Appalachian alumni, and Appalachian teacher education students.

The WCS Teachers of the Year were recognized on-field at the September 7, 2019, and December 7, 2019, football games.

Professional Development
Published: Feb 25, 2020 2:02pm