Rebecca Merriman named KCS Teacher of the Year

Rebecca Merriman named KCS Teacher of the Year
Posted on 09/06/2013
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 “All-star” educator becomes top teacher after just one year in KCS

From the moment Jackson Park Elementary principal, Nick Carlascio, hired Rebecca Merriman, he knew he had found an all-star teacher. “She is the best kindergarten teacher I have ever seen,” Carlascio says. “In her classroom, she is like a gardener planting her seeds and providing the essentials for her students to grow into lifelong learners. Rebecca Merriman is the complete package, and I can honestly say that I would put my own son in her class without reservations.”

Carlascio is not alone in his assessment of Rebecca Merriman. After just one year at Jackson Park Elementary, Merriman’s peers selected her as their Teacher of the Year. Now, she has risen to become Kannapolis City Schools’ Teacher of the Year. KCS Superintendent, Dr. Pam Cain, says Rebecca Merriman is an amazing teacher. “She is passionate, poised, talented, and caring. She also brings the perfect blend of teaching-as-art and teaching-as-science to the classroom. She is an excellent candidate for North Carolina Teacher of the Year and a wonderful representative of Kannapolis City Schools.”

For Rebecca Merriman, teaching has been a lifelong ambition. Even before she was old enough to attend school, she dreamed of being in the classroom. She often cried when her older sisters left for school each day because she wanted to go so badly. Later, when she was old enough, she found that school was just as magical as she had imagined it. She rushed home every day to teach the day’s lessons to her dolls. Sometimes, she even lost track of time and taught into the wee hours of the morning. The clatter of her high heeled teaching shoes would wake her parents. As they tucked her back into bed, they would always say, “You’re going to be a fantastic teacher, but first you need to get your rest!”  

Rebecca Merriman has become a fantastic teacher, and she believes the greatest gift she can give her students is to inspire them with the same love for learning she feels every day. Sheri Stitz is a Jackson Park parent who believes Rebecca Merriman accomplishes that goal. “My son had the joy of spending his first year of school with Ms. Merriman. His curiosity and love for learning were solidified by her strengths in motivating and exciting students at all levels. I spent a considerable amount of time in her classroom and saw her transform students into lifelong learners.”

Everyone who talks about Rebecca Merriman focuses on her outstanding teaching ability, positive personality, and leadership skills. Merriman believes that positive morale is crucial for success in education. She says, “I want my forward thinking, positive attitude, and passion for education to inspire and motivate students, community members, andcolleagues. I also want all stakeholders involved in our children’s education to be ‘all in.’ The future is far too important to go through the motions of education halfheartedly.”

Merriman is a shining example of being “all in” for education. She not only stays after school to tutor students but also works with parents so they can continue learning efforts at home. She even spends summers tutoring students at no charge so they will not lose knowledge over the break. “She is an educator in the noblest sense of the word,” says former colleague, Emily Turner. “Her positive attitude and enthusiasm are contagious. She always inspired all the teachers on our grade level to give it their all.”

Turner worked with Merriman at Crown Point Elementary School in Charlotte. Prior to coming to Kannapolis in 2012, Merriman spent six years in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.   

Dr. Pam Cain is among those who are extremely impressed with Merriman’s talent and enthusiasm. “Every child needs a teacher like Rebecca Merriman,” Cain says. “Her dedication to every student and her commitment to family involvement are exactly what we want for all our students and for public education in general. She is the model of what every teacher should be, and we are blessed to have her in Kannapolis City Schools.”

Rebecca Merriman earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College. She is a member of the Professional Educators of North Carolina, the North Carolina Reading Association, and the National Center for Family Literacy.

Rebecca Merriman will now be considered for regional Teacher of the Year honors. As a result of being named KCS Teacher of the Year, Merriman received $1,000 from SunTrust Bank.  Kathleen Woerner of Kannapolis Intermediate School was named the system's runner-up Teacher of the Year. She received $500 from SunTrust Bank. The remaining nominees received $100 from SunTrust:

  • Larry Efird, A.L. Brown High School
  • Trisha Hill, Fred L. Wilson Elementary School
  • Danah Hughes, Kannapolis Middle School
  • Molly Smith, Forest Park Elementary School
  • Melissa Stanley, Woodrow Wilson Elementary School
  • Margie Zimmermann, Shady Brook Elementary School

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