Dixon Elementary teacher Lisa Godwin said after being named regional Teacher of the Year that she wants to be a voice for teachers. 

She’ll be able to continue doing just that all across North Carolina as the 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year. 

Godwin will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. Onslow County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout said her achievement is well-deserved and students across the state will benefit.

“She makes a difference every day in her classroom, and now children across North Carolina will benefit from her expertise,” Stout said in a statement after the announcement. 

Godwin was named the state’s Teacher of the Year during an awards luncheon held Thursday in Cary. She was one of nine finalists representing the state’s eight education districts and charter schools. 

State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who announced the award winner, said she represents the best of North Carolina’s talent in the classroom. 

“Every day, Lisa gives her students the support and encouragement that lay an essential foundation for them to keep learning across the grades and beyond,” Johnson said. “She reaches out to their parents to build trust and reinforce learning in the home, and she leads her colleagues with respect and by example.” 

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. 

Godwin has said she knew at an early age that she wanted to help children and was inspired by her late father, who passed away just before she was named regional Teacher of the Year in December. He taught her to love others with an open heart and serve with helpful hands. 

“This ideal became the foundation for my personal and career choices. I always knew that I wanted a career which served children. As a child I could either be found playing school with my dolls or I would be using to doctor’s kit to diagnose them and make them well again,” Godwin said in a statement via a school system new release. 

Like her decision to transition to a career in education, Godwin followed her passion for serving children back to the classroom. 

“I truly missed the daily, positive interaction with my own classroom of students and knew that I could be a greater change agent from within,” she wrote in her nomination submission. 

Godwin is a mentor teacher at Dixon Elementary, supporting new teachers, and serves on a number of Onslow County Schools groups, including the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, the Every Student Succeeds Act Committee and the district’s Quality Council. She’s an active member of the Surf City Baptist Church and is involved with a number of community organizations and charitable events, some sponsored by the surf shop that she and her husband own in Surf City. 

During the year, Godwin will receive the use of a state vehicle, leased from Flow Automotive, LLC, the opportunity to attend a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, a mobile device from Lenovo , an engraved vase, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, and the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC. 

Godwin also will serve as an advisor to the State Board of Education for two years and as a board member for the NC Public School Forum for one year. In addition, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction will sponsor her enrollment and completion of the Public School Forum’s Education Policy Fellowship Program.

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From Onslow County Schools:

Lisa Godwin, a kindergarten teacher at Dixon Elementary School, was named the 2017 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year today during an awards luncheon ceremony in Cary. She was one of just nine regional finalists selected from North Carolina’s 94,421 classroom teachers.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson, who announced this year’s winner, said Godwin represents the very best talent in North Carolina’s schools, measuring her own success by that of her students — regardless of where they start — and seeing public education as the nation’s open door to opportunity and life’s success.

“Every day, Lisa gives her students the support and encouragement that lay an essential foundation for them to keep learning across the grades and beyond,” Johnson said. “She reaches out to their parents to build trust and reinforce learning in the home, and she leads her colleagues with respect and by example.”

Onslow County Schools Superintendent Rick Stout said Godwin’s achievement is well deserved. “She makes a difference every day in her classroom, and now children across North Carolina will benefit from her expertise.”

Godwin is now in her third-year teaching at Dixon Elementary School. Godwin began her classroom career in 1997 as an instructional assistant. She served as a kindergarten teacher, fifth-grade teacher, administrative intern and assistant principal in Sanford, N.C. before joining Onslow County Schools in 2012 as an assistant principal at Meadow View Elementary. In 2014, she went back to the classroom as a kindergarten teacher at Dixon.

Godwin’s mission to help children started at an early age. “My dad inspired and taught me to love others with an open heart and to serve with helpful hands. This ideal became the foundation for my personal and career choices. I always knew that I wanted a career which served children. As a child, I could either be found playing school with my dolls or I would be using my doctor’s kit to diagnose and make them well again!”

Torn between a career in medicine or education, Godwin chose pediatric nursing, but she still felt like she was missing something. When her twin sons entered kindergarten, she did, too – as an instructional assistant. After the first week, she knew she was home.

Godwin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Andrews Presbyterian College, then her master’s in school administration from UNC Chapel Hill.

Godwin is a mentor teacher at Dixon Elementary, supporting new teachers, and serves on several OCS groups, including the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, Every Student Succeeds Act Committee and the district’s Quality Council.

Outside the classroom, Godwin partners with parents to ensure they are involved with their child’s education by facilitating workshops in churches and at local events. She has podcasts and videos linked to her webpage to allow parents to see what instruction looks like in her classroom and she provides parents with materials and strategies to reinforce academic review.

As with other regional finalists, Godwin was first recognized this school year as Teacher of the Year at

Dixon Elementary, then selected as OCS Teacher of the Year.

As the North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Godwin will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession. She will receive an automobile to use during the year thanks to Flow Automotive, the opportunity to attend a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, a mobile device from Lenovo valued at approximately $1,600, an engraved vase, a one-time cash award of $7,500, a trip to the National Teacher of the Year Conference and International Space Camp, and the opportunity to travel abroad through an endowment sponsored by Go Global NC.