Kannapolis names Chapman Teacher of the Year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
KANNAPOLIS — Krista Chapman travels to Kannapolis Middle School once a month to have lunch with her former students.
“I want them to know I’m still a constant in their life,” she said.
That kindness and concern for her students is what won her the title of the Kannapolis City School district’s Teacher of the Year.
Chapman, a Kannapolis native, has taught severely emotionally disabled children at Kannapolis Intermediate School for the past five years.
“She is truly a master teacher,” Bonnie West, the district’s exceptional children’s director, said. “This is not just a job for her. She consumes herself with the success of her children.”
But Chapman admits she never dreamed of being a teacher. The A.L. Brown High School graduate studied nursing and nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before making the switch.
“I grew up wanting to be a nurse,” she said. “Then I just decided after watching my sister struggle that there needed to be more people out there to be her voice.”
Chapman said her sister, Brooke Thomason, faced challenges due to developmental delays.
“She would act out and kind of be silly because she didn’t know how to do things,” she said. “Going to school and studying special education actually helped me advocate for her,” she said.
Chapman originally planned to teach kindergarten after graduating from UNC-Charlotte, but an encounter with a middle-schooler changed her plans again.
After watching the girl sit in the back of the classroom coloring and defying her teachers she decided to find out what was up.
Chapman soon realized the girl drew pictures in order to stay awake during class because she stayed up late at night taking care of her younger brothers while her single mother worked.
She also discovered the girl was oftentimes rude to cover up the fact that she could not read.
“I found out that she was a beautiful young lady with a dream of becoming a photographer one day,” Chapman said. “Yet, due to her circumstance at home, she had never been given a chance.”
Chapman said it was in that moment that she realized teaching was definitely the right path for her.
“I truly knew I was where God wanted me to be,” she said.
Alan Chapman said he was proud to see his wife named the district’s top teacher.
“I’m excited for her,” he said. “She loves the kids. She would bring them all home if she could.
“It’s her heart, it’s her soul.”
Alan Chapman said it isn’t uncommon for his wife’s students to join the family for meals and trips to watch their own children in ball games.
“They love it because it’s stuff they don’t normally get to do,” Krista Chapman said. “I incorporate a lot of what I do at home with the kids I have at school.”
Krista Chapman said she was “excited,” “overwhelmed” and “shocked” when she was chosen as Teacher of the Year over seven of her peers.
“I’m just so lucky that I get paid to do what I love,” she said.
SunTrust Bank sponsors the annual Teacher of the Year Breakfast, held this year at The Club at Irish Creek.
Chapman will receive $1,000 from SunTrust. Runner-up Amber Monroe will receive $500.
Monroe is a second-grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary. She has five years of teaching experience and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from UNC-Charlotte.
The other nominees are:
• Angie Campbell — fourth-grade teacher at Jackson Park Elementary
• Allison Fletcher — English as a second language teacher at Fred L. Wilson Elementary
• Todd Hagler — physical education teacher at A.L. Brown High
• Brenda Tate — kindergarten teacher at Shady Brook Elementary
• Allison Teague — eighth-grade English as a second language teacher at Kannapolis Middle
• Julie Yongue — kindergarten teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
Each nominee will receive $100 from SunTrust.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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