Clayton Named Henderson County Junior Teacher of the Year

Hendersonville High School Exceptional Children’s Teacher Breeana Clayton has been named Henderson County’s Early Teacher of the Year for 2022-2023.

According to a press release, Henderson County Public Schools Superintendent Mark R. Garrett and the District leadership team surprised Clayton on Friday morning while he was teaching. Clayton is a graduate of East Henderson High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from North Carolina State University. He is in his freshman year at Hendersonville Middle.

“Ms. Clayton has made a significant impact on our students, the school and her peers in her freshman year,” said HMS Principal Joni Allison in a release. “As an EC teacher, she builds trust with her family and advocates for her students. She is solution-oriented and always works in the best interests of students.”

The North Carolina Early Years Teacher Award sponsored by Prudential was developed in 2019 by the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching to honor budding teachers and to retain educators who demonstrate promise as excellent educational leaders in North Carolina public schools, the release said. Principals from 23 schools in the district nominated novice teachers and the Curriculum and Teaching Staff selected the overall district winner, along with input from other stakeholders with knowledge of the various nomination performances.

Clayton also works with two mentor programs, coaching school sports and teaching summer school.

“Ms. Clayton was very influential as our cheerleading coach in her freshman year, she had over 50 girls trying for 15 spots on our cheerleading team,” said Allison.

Clayton was already proud to be part of the Bearcat family.

“Hendersonville Middle School is absolutely the best place. I love being a cheerleading coach and stay excited for our Bearcat family… can’t hide that Bearcat pride,” she said.

The two mentoring programs he participated in had a big impact on students. The first program is Becoming Bearcats where eighth graders mentor a small group of sixth graders throughout the year.

“This program is new to HMS this year and is a good start. This program is created by our excellent counselors and school administrators. I am an eighth grade representative, communicating with and assisting mentors.”

The second program is The Marable Mentorship Program which was co-created by Clayton, Katy Gash, Bertha Collins, Ronnie Pepper and Terry Young.

“Named after Ninth Avenue Principal John Marable, this is a mentoring program for youth of color where we explore the pillars of character, motivation, leadership and heritage. These young men work with two of our mentors, Ronnie and Terry, for eight weeks each semester. It culminates with a visit to the HBCU (Historically Black College/University) at the end of the school year,” said Clayton.

Regional finalists will attend the celebrations and Teacher Leadership week from March 6-10 at NCCAT’s Cullowhee campus. During this time the NCCAT BTOY Selection Committee will review portfolios and interview 27 finalists. The winner of the NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year will be announced at a celebratory event on March 9, 2023. The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year receives a $5,000 cash prize, participation in the NC GoGlobal journey, and an instructional supply fund for teacher schools, while the runner-up receives prizes $2,000 cash. All finalists receive travel expenses to participate in NCCAT’s professional development and leadership development.

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