Wake Ed

Surprise visits announce Wake County’s First-Year Teacher Award winners

The Wake County school system announced Friday its four winners for the 2016-17 Diane Kent-Parker First-Year Teacher award.

Awards were given to Kathryn Anne Bush, an animal science teacher at Reedy Creek Middle School in Cary; Courtney Massengill, a fifth-grade teacher at Green Elementary School in Raleigh; Ianna Quashie, a behavior support specialist at Carpenter Elementary School in Cary and Kelly Anne Williamson, a social studies teacher at Broughton High School in Raleigh.

Every year, Wake gives awards to new teachers in an elementary school, middle school, high school and in special education. This year’s winners received the news through surprise school visits, much like how Wake school officials visited schools earlier this month to surprise the 13 finalists for Teacher of the Year.

Massengill’s students rushed to give her a hug when she was the first winner announced Friday. Lisa Brown, principal of Green Elementary, noted how Massengill organizes home visit conferences with parents by asking local apartment complexes to use their facilities so she can meet with parents and interpreters.

“By building strong relationships with families, Courtney makes school a safe place for her students and a place that they enjoy,” Brown said in a written statement.

Similar scenes of excitement greeted Williamson and Bush when they received the news they had won. Bush also posed for pictures with Baby, the school’s boa constrictor.

Quashie will be recognized on Monday.