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OCS Announces 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year

Kayla Anderson accepts her award from Dr. Barry Collins

Kayla Anderson, a 3rd grade teacher at Meadow View Elementary School, has been named the 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year by Onslow County Schools.  

Anderson, who was named in a surprise announcement at the inaugural Excellence in Education event, is a 4-year educator who started with Onslow County Schools in 2018. She holds a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing and a master’s in elementary education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.  

Though the first four years of her career brought many challenges, Anderson has maintained positivity and a passion for advocating for students. She said that she believes in the power of student voices and strives to keep child-centered conversations and child-centered solutions at the forefront of her work in and out of the classroom.  

When asked what she considered to be a major issue facing public education today, Anderson shared that she reflected on how rarely that question is asked of students. 

“As a third-grade teacher, I am surrounded by 18 dynamic and high-spirited 9-year-olds for much of the week,” she said, “all of whom would jump at the chance to express what is meaningful to them, therefore, I invited them to do so.”  

She said that her students did not share concerns over funding, access to resources, or instructional materials. The children expressed how school reminds them of their friends, how school is a place they have access to food, and how school is a place they feel safe. This exercise, Anderson said, emphasized how important it is to keep children at the center of all we do in education. She wishes to see more adults begin every discussion in education with the question “How does this best benefit students?” 

Through her work with the Energy Bus program at MVES and her classroom experiences, Anderson has found purpose in building relationships, encouraging positivity in her students, and advocating for children.   

As part of the next step in her journey as an educator, Anderson is currently pursuing a master’s degree in counselor education at East Carolina University. 

“I plan to champion for these budding changemakers, who are old enough to manifest bright dreams, yet young enough to hold the magic needed to fuel them.” 

The OCS TOY Committee is led by Dr. Beth Folger, Deputy Superintendent, and includes the previous OCS Teacher of the Year and last year’s Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year, as well as a community member and other district staff. The committee reviewed portfolios of all teachers selected by their schools as their TOY. Interviews were conducted with the top 10 semi-finalists. Following the interviews, the committee narrowed the field to five finalists and conducted classroom observations to determine who would be the 2022-2023 TOY.  

Next, Anderson will go on to compete at the regional level. Winners at the regional level will compete for North Carolina Teacher of the Year.