Dixon Elementary School teacher Lisa Godwin returned to school Friday after an emotional week following the death of her father and got an extra dose of the joy that motivates her each day in her classroom.
“My kids are why I am here today. They are my joy. It is the last day before the holiday and I had to be here,” Godwin said, holding back tears after a school Christmas program that included a surprise announcement in her honor.
Godwin, Onslow County Schools’ Teacher of the Year, was recognized Friday as the regional Teacher of the Year for North Carolina’s southeast region.
Godwin didn’t expect an announcement of the regional winners until January and was equally surprised to learn that Principal Glenn Reed had contacted Godwin’s father before his death to be sure he knew his daughter had been named a regional teacher of the year.
“I’m still on an emotional roller coaster. My dad was my biggest supporter and I’m so glad that they called him. I know my dad is looking down and celebrating with us,” Godwin said.
Godwin, who teaches kindergarten, began a career in nursing and then transitioned to education, starting her teaching career in Lee County. After obtaining a master’s degree in school administration from UNC-Chapel Hill, Godwin served as an assistant principal in Lee County for two years before joining Onslow County Schools in 2012 as assistant principal at Meadow View Elementary. She made another transition in 2013, returning to the classroom as a teacher at Dixon Elementary.
Reed called Godwin a well-rounded professional educator with a love for her job.
“No matter what it is, she is always going to give all of herself to her kids and her school,” Reed said.
Godwin said she is looking forward to serving as a voice for all teachers as the region’s Teacher of the Year and Reed said she’ll do that well.
“There’s not going to be a much better advocate for education than her,” Reed said.
The announcement was made by North Carolina 2016 Teacher of the Year Bobbie Cavnar.
Cavnar said regional teachers of the year play a valuable role as a liaison between teachers and others such as superintendents and other school leaders.
“Regional winners are not just finalists for Teacher of the Year, all nine regional teachers of the year make up a leadership team designed to be a voice for teachers across the state,” Cavnar said.
Godwin said she wants to be an advocate for education throughout the community and hopes to talk to civic groups and others about what is happening in area classrooms.
“I want to be a voice for teachers. I want to let people know the great things that are happening in this county and across the state,” Godwin said.