Schools name top teacher, principal

Lucama’s Phillips, Springfield’s Spell earn county honors

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Wilson County Schools named its teacher of the year and principal of the year Tuesday evening at Jones Elementary School.

Britney Phillips, a fourth grade teacher at Lucama Elementary School, was named Wilson County Schools Teacher of the Year for 2018-19. Marquis Spell, principal at Springfield Middle School, was named Principal of the Year.

Superintendent Lane Mills said if Phillips could pass on any wisdom to her students it would be, “Only you can control your emotions and how you react. Don’t allow any one else to bring you down.”

Phillips has been teaching for nine years, three at Lucama.

“I feel incredibly honored, surprised and blessed to have this opportunity, so I am very thankful,” said Phillips. “I just do what’s best for my kids no matter what level they are. You just have to meet the kids where they are and grow them from there. You treat them as individuals and get to know them on a personal level and if you do that, they will do anything for you.”

“Her peers look up to her as a voice of reason and knowledge with any questions related to instruction,” said Zach Marks, principal at Lucama Elementary. “She plans hard, works hard and exhibits extreme concern about the education for all of her students. She is charismatic and creative.”

Spell is finishing his third year as principal at Springfield and his 12th as a school administrator.

“He works hard to build a climate where students, staff and parents know that relationships are at the heart of everything,” Mills said. “He remains visible, accessible and has close bonds with his students and staff.”

Spell is known for posting selfies on social media.

“I am just honored to be the Wilson County Schools’ Principal of the Year amongst so many awesome principals,” Spell said. “I am just flattered and honored to have this spot.”

Spell said he doesn’t know of any key to his success other than love.

“Love what you do. Build relationships and treat people the right way,” Spell said.

Runners-up for the teacher of the year position were Jenasis Rogers, a seventh and eighth grade English language arts teacher at Springfield Middle, and Will Edwards, a science teacher at Hunt High School.

Runner up for principal of the year was Daniel Barnes, principal at Barnes Elementary School.

Christine Fitch, chairwoman of the Wilson County Board of Education, said all the candidates are to be commended.

“They are passionate and caring with the interest of the children at heart,” Fitch said. “They think outside the box. They accept the children for who they are. They collaborate with his or her fellow teachers, one who sees the best in every child that they encounter.”

Phillips was presented the keys to a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox. The Vester Auto Group provides the county’s Teacher of the Year with a complimentary one-year lease.

School-level teachers of the year honored Tuesday included Ashley Sullivan, Barnes Elementary School; Luke Hancock, Beddingfield High School; Charles Wairia, Daniels Learning Center; Chanta Robinson, Darden Middle School; Kari Stallings, Frederick Douglass Elementary School; Jayme Daniels, Elm City Middle School; Amber Inscoe, Fike High School; Tondia Best, Forest Hills Middle School; Jordan Webb, Gardners Elementary School; Serita Braswell, Hearne Elementary School; William Edwards, Hunt High School; Tinika Bunch, Jones Elementary School; Stacy Mancera, Lee Woodard Elementary School; Britney Phillips, Lucama Elementary School; Nicole Hunt, New Hope Elementary School; Ashley Watkins, Rock Ridge Elementary School; Zatandem Jones, Speight Middle School; Jenasis Rogers, Springfield Middle School; Gretchen Godinez, Stantonsburg Elementary School; Joanna Farriss, Toisnot Middle School; Shenika Davis, Vick Elementary School; Cynthia Hardy, Vinson-Bynum Elementary School; Miranda Walls, Wells Elementary School; Sarah Anderson, Wilson Academy of Applied Technology; Olympia Jenkins, Wilson Early College Academy; and Elaine Darden, Winstead Elementary School.

The selection process for teacher of the year and principal of the year is overseen by the Wilson County Schools Organizational Development Department. Based on portfolios, interviews and school visits, a panel of judges selects the finalists.