Elizabeth Jordan, a fifth-grade teacher at Fox Road Elementary School in Raleigh, was named the Wake County school system’s 2018-19 Teacher of the Year at a ceremony on Thursday.
Jordan, who goes by "Betsy," has taught at Fox Road since 2014. She was praised for being a leader who is able to develop strong relationships with her students and the community.
"Mrs. Jordan is a leader — caring, hard-working, a visionary," said Melissa McKinley, a former assistant principal at Fox Road, in a statement. "But perhaps her greatest asset is that she has a wonderful rapport with her students and parents.
"She treats all of her students as if they were her own child and holds very high expectations for each of them. The students in her classroom value, respect and support each other."
Jordan helped to create the school’s science club and served as the ambassador for the development of Fox Road’s outdoor green space, which was built in 2017. She also formed a partnership with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, where museum educators work with science club members.
Jordan also worked with her church community to start the “Adopt-a-Fox” program to provide food, clothes and other necessities for the school's families. She also attends students’ extracurricular events — sports, step team and chorus — and coached an all-female basketball team at Fox Road through the Playworks program.
“Teachers are the driving force behind equity in schools," Jordan wrote. "Whether it be buying school supplies for students or buying a student’s lunch for the day to ensure they have the supplies and energy necessary to learn; teachers often provide for the needs of their students before their own."
Fox Road is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program magnet school made up of families from more than 50 different countries that speak about 35 different native languages. More than half of the student population are native Spanish speakers.
“I have a heart for working with students of all races and cultures, and so my greatest accomplishments reflect their stories,” Jordan said in a statement. “It is rewarding to see students seek out opportunities to learn about global issues and the world around them."
Jordan will receive a prize package that includes a $1,000 check. She will now compete in the state Teacher of the Year program.