South Stokes High School’s Shiela Patterson has been named Stokes County Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Brad Rice, Stokes County Superintendent, and school administrators surprised Patterson Friday morning with the honor.
“This is her second time being named teacher of the year; she was also recognized in 2002/2003. Sometimes people ask if awards are just passed around and everyone gets their turn. No, excellence is recognized,” Rice said.
Patterson is a product of Stokes County schools and she thanked former teacher Pat Messick, who was present on Friday and now serves on the school board, for making an impact on her as a young student.
“I had that teacher, the one that puts you in awe of the power of learning, the one that makes school seem like a magical place,” Patterson said of Messick.
She added, “I want my students to understand that history did not just happen and did not just happen in faraway places, but happened here in their backyards. This gives them a strong connection to their community, the community they will someday be responsible for.”
The respected educator believes through engaging relationships with students that trust is built and meaningful learning can occur.
“I believe all students can learn and grow and enjoy the process and I want to be there enthusiastically cheering them on wherever that learning is taking place. As a teacher, I’m part of shaping my students’ lives; I must do this right,” she said.
Student Nimai Browning said Patterson treats everyone with fairness and respect.
“She doesn’t let her personal views cloud her judgment. She is authoritative, structured and consistent, but never to the extent of being controlling or nit-picky. No one is intimidated to ask a question. She’s not condemning if you don’t know something.”
Patterson said being selected Teacher of the Year for Stokes County is an honor.
She teared up when she realized she’d been chosen to receive the award and again when her husband, children and three sisters filed into her classroom.
“Four years ago this month our mom died and our dad died six months later. My family and sisters are important to me. The first time I won teacher of the year my dad was so proud. He told everyone on the golf course. I know that he would be very proud,” Patterson said. “Everybody that has said anything to me about being teacher of the year for South Stokes, I’ve said how honored I was because we have great teachers here at South. Our county has great teachers.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.