A Heritage High School teacher is in the running to become North Carolina’s Teacher of the Year.
During a surprise schoolwide assembly Wednesday, Miles Macleod found out he was named the North Central Region Teacher of the Year. He will now compete against eight other regional winners for the state title.
“I was totally surprised,” said Macleod, 34, who was named the Wake County school system’s 2016 Teacher of the Year in May. “I had no idea it was coming.”
Students cheered Wednesday as Macleod stood on stage with his wife, Erin, and their three children.
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“It’s amazing, but at the same time, it’s not surprising,” said Ian Hinkley, 18, a senior at Heritage. “He’s my favorite teacher and the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
The North Central region includes 16 school districts. The selection process included a class visit and interviews with colleagues and parents.
Wake’s last regional winner was René Herrick of Combs Elementary in Raleigh in 2010. The last Wake County teacher to win the statewide title was Kimberly Hughes of Fox Road Elementary in 1999.
Macleod, who is in his seventh year of teaching English and global studies at Heritage, was not always on track to become an educator. When he entered high school, he had nine offenses on his juvenile record, including theft, trespassing and breaking and entering. Coaches and teachers helped him get back on the right path.
After graduating from Salisbury University in Maryland with a degree in English and secondary education, Macleod taught English in South Korea and Ghana. While in Africa, he started a nonprofit to help launch schools in the area.
At Heritage, Macleod helped transform the nonprofit into Project Wisdom, an international service learning program. It includes an after-school club, travel and an elective course. Last year, he traveled to Ghana with 13 students as part of Project Wisdom.
He also finds time to serve as a mentor to some students, and he is currently completing a master’s degree in 21st century teaching and learning at Wilkes University.
“Education involves equipping students to be world-changers,” Macleod said. “I’m only one person, but there are many students who can make a difference.”
Ben Koziel, a senior at Heritage, said Macleod is supportive and kind.
“And best of all, he treats me like a colleague, not a student,” Koziel said. “Instead of feeling like I’m working up to being an adult, I am already one with him.”
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler