September 19, 2008Robyn Pass
, a language arts and social studies teacher at Erwin Middle School
received the Ben Craig Educator Award, honoring her as the Buncombe County Schools’ 2009 Teacher of the Year
at a reception held at the Renaissance Asheville. Mrs. Pass also received a $1,000 check from Wachovia Bank and the use of a leased car for one year, which is an annual gift coordinated by the Buncombe County Schools’ Foundation.
“She has an infectious enthusiasm for teaching and learning that is unmistakable. Her passion for students shows through in every situation,” comments Joel Hathaway, Assistant Principal at Erwin Middle School.
Mrs. Pass, a seventh-grade teacher, began her teaching career at Erwin Middle School in 2004 after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree and Secondary Education Teaching Certificate from Michigan State University.
Mrs. Pass notes, “I truly believe that education is power. I strive each and every day to instill the need to pursue educational ambition in all forms. Teaching is a progressive endeavor, and I consider it my professional imperative to teach every child to empower themselves through education.”
The selection process for the Buncombe County Schools’ Teacher of the Year is very competitive. Each candidate prepares a portfolio, as required of the N.C. Teacher of the Year Program, and is interviewed by the selection committee. One finalist is selected from each district following the evaluation of portfolios and the interviews. In the last phase of the process, classroom visits and a brief speech presentation occur before the final selection.
A total of six district finalists were chosen: Karen King
of Cane Creek Middle
(Reynolds District), Jessie Devine
of Black Mountain Primary
(Owen District), Debra Cheap
of Enka Middle
(Enka District), Kay McLeod
of North Buncombe High
(North Buncombe District), Mary Whitlock
of Roberson High
(Roberson District) and Mrs. Pass
of Erwin Middle
(Erwin District).The Ruth Henderson Award
, a recognition given to an “altruistic teacher whose light shines for every student,” was presented to Gary Ellis
of Owen Middle
In October, Mrs. Pass will represent Buncombe County Schools in the regional competition. The regional winners will be announced in February.The BCS Foundation has arranged for Mrs. Pass to use a leased vehicle for one year provided by a local automotive dealer. The following sponsors participated in the Lease Car Program: Saturn of Asheville, Asheville Chevrolet, GMC, Pepsi, ICON Sign Systems, Clear Channel Communications, Harry’s Cadillac-Pontiac-GMC, and College Solutions.
Photo: Teachers were asked to bring a student to the banquet to present them with their awards. Left to right: student award presenter Alfredo Maldanado, husband Jason Pass, Robyn Pass and Superintendent Cliff Dodson.