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Lifelong Learner Chosen as OCS 2024-2025 Teacher of the Year

 “A lifelong learner,” who lists “communication with parents” among her top teaching skills.

 As a teacher for 31 years — all in Orange County Schools — Mrs. Teresa Rogers-Thorpe has relentlessly fostered this growth mindset in herself and in her students. Just one of the main reasons OCS announces Mrs. Thorpe as the district’s 2024-25 Teacher of the Year! 

 “I have consistently been impressed by her unwavering dedication, passion and commitment to fostering her students’ academic and social growth and her capacity and willingness to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with her colleagues,” wrote Pathways Elementary School Principal Kristin Mattison- Williams in a Teacher of the Year recommendation for Mrs. Thorpe. 

 Her recommendation continues, “with an extensive tenure of over two decades in the field of education, Mrs. Thorpe epitomizes the qualities of a lifelong learner.” 

 Mrs. Thorpe began her long and accomplished career in education in 1993 when she graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) with a Bachelor of Science in K-6 Education, after student teaching at Joyner Elementary (Guilford County Schools) in the 1992-93 school year.

 Candidates chosen as a school’s Teacher of the Year describe their personal Philosophy of Teaching and other reflections on the teaching profession as they compile their portfolio to apply for district recognition, en route to regional and state-level consideration.

“As a seasoned educator and a lifelong learner, my personal beliefs about teaching and learning continue to evolve over time,” wrote Mrs. Thorpe in her Philosophy of Teaching essay. 

Mrs. Thorpe joined Orange County Schools in 1993 and began her teaching career at River Park (Cameron Park) Elementary School. In 2001, she moved to Pathways Elementary, where she has taught and mentored for the last 23 years. She has mentored beginning teachers and student teachers since 1998 and was previously named Teacher of the Year for Cameron Park Elementary School in (YEAR)

Demonstrating her lifelong commitment to professional learning, Mrs. Thorpe first earned her National Board Certification in 2001, renewed in 2011, and earned her Maintenance of Certification in 2023, as schools continued to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As a National Board Certified teacher, Mrs. Thorpe’s expertise and dedication to her craft are exemplary,” wrote one colleague. “Her commitment to maintaining the highest standards of teaching excellence speaks volumes about her professionalism and dedication to her students’ success.” 

According to Thorpe’s Philosophy of Teaching, every student is born with a gift, and that gift needs to be “nurtured and cultivated,” which can be done through a great teacher. However, as a lifelong learner open to new learning, she added that her philosophy is “not set in stone but is a work in progress, subject to change as I continue to grow as an educator.” 

During her time with OCS, Thorpe has devoted herself to innovation in her “relentless pursuit of creating an engaging and stimulating learning environment for her students,” wrote another of Thorpe’s colleagues. “Her innovative and effective student differentiation techniques have always set her apart as an outstanding educator.”

Thorpe’s impact has transcended beyond the four walls of her classroom, as well. She has spearheaded many traditions that helped define the culture at Pathways Elementary School over the years – including Grandparents Day, an annual Rosa Parks student theater and musical performance, “Read to a Teacher: around the school, and many other traditions and events.  

Orange County Schools is proud to announce Mrs. Teresa Rogers-Thorpe as OCS Teacher of the Year for the 2024-25 school year, and on May 10, everyone at Pathways Elementary was excited to celebrate her surprise announcement with a second parade of honor through the school this spring. 

At Pathways, students are reminded that everyone in their school is a Star. Surrounded by guests and supporters, Principal Mattison-Williamson surprised Mrs. Thorpe and her class, telling her students, “You have a superstar in your midst. You are taught by a superstar!” 

When she told them their teacher was so deserving, Mrs. Thorpe had only one reaction: "This is so humbling." 

As Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Thorpe was commended especially for her ability to relate to students and families, and for her hard work and long-standing commitment to improving in the profession, innovating to help students grow to proficiency, and leading in the Pathways Elementary community. 

What’s next? Mrs. Thorpe will have an opportunity to meet fellow teacher leaders from around North Carolina as she applies to serve as Teacher of the Year at the regional and state level! 

We also want to recognize our other two 2024-25 Teacher of the Year finalists, Laura Isenhour from Cedar Ridge High School and Andromeda Crowell from Orange High School, with more about these celebrated educators in a related post shared separately.