Kannapolis names 2017 Teacher of the Year

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 28, 2017

By Rebecca Rider


KANNAPOLIS — The city school system has named its Teacher of the Year for the second time this school year.

At an early-morning breakfast Thursday, Kannapolis City Schools named Jennifer Linn as its 2017 Teacher of the Year.

Ellen Boyd, the system’s director of community relations, said the district is switching its Teacher of the Year schedule so that the award is given in spring instead of fall, as in previous years. In September, Brittnay Banks was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year.

Linn is an English teacher at A.L. Brown High School in her 22nd year of teaching. She has spent her entire career at A.L. Brown.

Principal Todd Parker said that when he was a teacher at the high school, Linn was his co-worker. He said she not only goes above and beyond in making her students feel special and loved but also does so for her school.

“Jennifer is the epitome of a wonder,” he said.

Linn uses literature to help her students gain a better understanding of the world and of themselves.

“Ms. Linn is one of the best teachers I have ever had throughout my four years at A.L. Brown,” said one of her students, Shemya Stanback. “By the end of the semester, you will have learned something not only about the literature she’s teaching but also something about character and the real world.”

During the course of the semester, Linn asks her students to partner at least once with every other student in the classroom. She said she wants her students to have conversations with each other and to find out how they are different and how they are similar.

“She’s as good as it gets,” Shemya wrote in a letter.

Linn cried as she accepted the award Thursday morning and thanked Shemya for her letter.

“That made my whole year — my whole career, honestly,” she said.

While the teaching profession has become increasingly difficult over the years, Linn said, she sees “so much dedication” to both the profession and to students when she looks at her fellow teachers in Kannapolis and across Cabarrus County.

“They are the best honor that all of us receive,” she said.

Linn earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and secondary education teacher licensure from St. Edwards University in Texas.

With the award, Linn received $1,000 from First Financial Group of America, which sponsors the KCS Teacher of the Year award.

Lauren Roberts of Shady Brook Elementary School was named the runner-up Teacher of the Year. She received $500.

The remaining nominees received $100. They are:

• Colleen Barrese, Jackson Park Elementary.

• Lauren Downs, Woodrow Wilson Elementary.

• Jim Newell, Kannapolis Middle.

• Jody Shaughnessy, Fred L. Wilson Elementary.

• Jeremy Thiel, Kannapolis Intermediate.

• Allison Vincent, Forest Park Elementary.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.