Fayetteville educator named North Carolina’s teacher of the year

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Maureen Stover, a science teacher at Cumberland International Early College High School, was named the 2020 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

Stover received the honor during an awards luncheon today held outside a Cary hotel with a small group of attendees.

Stover was selected from a field of nine finalists representing the state’s eight education districts and charter schools.

A former intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, Stover began her teaching career 11 years ago in Florida through the federal Troops to Teachers program.

Stover has been teaching Biology, Earth and Environmental Science and AVID for the last three years at the early college in Fayetteville, where she holds a number of leadership roles.

Known to her students as the “Science Mom,” Stover says that her students understand that her commitment to them extends beyond the 90 minutes of classroom instruction each day. 

“My students are my ikigai,” she said to begin her Teacher of the Year submission. “In Japanese culture, ikigai means life’s purpose. My ikigai is helping my students develop academically, socially and emotionally as they transition from adolescence into adulthood. I have found that one of the most important parts of being a teacher is the relationships I form with my students.”

Beyond helping students achieve academic success, Stover said, “my role as a classroom teacher is to be part giver of knowledge, part cheerleader, part counselor, part mom, part nurse, and part what my kids need me to be that day.”

State Superintendent Mark Johnson said Stover’s commitment to excellence in teaching and to her students exemplifies the importance of the public service by educators across the state. 

“Maureen says that her training and experience in the military ingrained in her the mantra of service before self,” Johnson said. “She proves that every day for her students, who have her as both an excellent teacher and a great role model.”

As Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year, she will spend the next school year traveling the state as an ambassador for the teaching profession.

During her second year of service, she will receive the use of a new vehicle, leased from Flow Automotive, LLC, the opportunity to attend a seminar at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT), 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.

Stover 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.

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