Shannon Snipes, who teaches fifth grade at Selma Middle School, has won the 24th Annual Flame for Learning Award. The honor goes to Johnston County’s teacher of the year.
“I was overwhelmed with joy that in my profession a teacher would be recognized for doing their everyday job,” Snipes said. “It’s great to have a county, to have commissioners, to have crews that recognize teachers for what they do.”
Snipes’ classroom best practice was “Inspiring Students to Foster a Passion for Learning,” which allowed students to transform the hallways of their school into an arcade for an interactive math lesson. Snipes challenged her students to invent or re-create classic arcade games using household supplies while incorporating a math lesson to teach their classmates.
“It was really emotional because I work with these kids every day,” Snipes said. “It’s an honor for me to teach them.”
“Every day I challenge myself to push them just a little bit further, to be innovative with them and to build relationships with them,” Snipes added. “I try to find relevant things for them to use in their daily lives that will make them better in the future.”
As the Flame for Learning Award winner, Snipes received a $1,000, cash award and a $1,000 grant from the Johnston County Education Foundation. She will go on to compete for North Carolina Teacher of the Year.
“We commend all of our semifinalists on being recognized for best instructional practices in the classroom,” said Johnston Superintendent Ross Renfrow. “We congratulate this year’s Flame recipient, Shannon Snipes, for her commitment and dedication to our students at Selma Middle School.”
Other finalists for the award and their best practices were Brooke Daughtry, math teacher at North Johnston High School, “Personalized Learning Environment”; William Parker, world history teacher at Smithfield-Selma High School, “Political Parties and You”; and Amber Sweigart, American Sign Language teacher at West Johnston High School, “Deaf Performance Night.” Each received $300, and their schools received $250. Snipes’ school received $250 too.
Semifinalists were Christopher Aycock, South Johnston High School; Colleen Bonner, West Johnston High School; Michael Butler, Clayton Middle School; Reid Byrd, West Johnston High School; LiAnn Cheong, Riverwood Elementary School; Dorothy Finiello, Selma Middle School; Dorothy Holley, Clayton High School; Morgan Jones, Micro Elementary School; Miranda Lewis, Corinth-Holders Elementary School; Jack Littleton, South Johnston High School; Patricia Lytle, Riverwood Elementary School; Melissa Noel, North Johnston High School; Mistie Pulleyn, Riverwood Elementary School; Emily Scott, West Johnston High School; Adam Simpson, Riverwood Elementary School; and Joseph Smith, Cleveland High School.
“I hope everyone realizes that the students are why we’re here,” Snipes said. “We want to educate these young minds because they’re our future. It’s humbling that there are ... 19 other teachers that went through this same experience, who are creative teachers just like myself.”
As the 2017 Flame for Learning Award recipient, Snipes will serve as a role model for teachers across the county.
“In the next year I hope to inspire other teachers to be creative with their students, to create an environment where the students want to come to school, where they want to learn, where they don't want to leave,” she said.