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Scholastic News: Teacher of the Year & Principal of the Year are Announced

Dr. Lowery has been the principal at Westover High School a little over a month; however, she brings from Alger B. Wilkins High School much knowledge and experience.

“My professional successes and achievements can be demonstrated through the growth of Alger B. Wilkins High School from a small four-room school with less than 20 students to a larger high school with a waiting list for new students. I decided to take the stance of giving back to the community in hopes of increasing knowledge of our program, instilling a sense of community with our students and compelling the community to help us mold the lives of students. As a staff, we decided to come to the community from a different perspective. We wanted to mold our students into productive citizens. There is no other way for them to do that effectively without giving them the opportunity to mold other citizens. Many of the students were homeless, unaccompanied and abused. We wanted them to give despite their pain and
as a result, they are more productive citizens.”

 The 17-year education veteran has served as a school administrator for nine years and started her career in the field after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology/Chemistry from Methodist University in 1999.

She later obtained master’s degrees in Education (Secondary Biology) and School Administration from Fayetteville State University (FSU). Dr. Lowery went on to receive her doctorate in Education in 2015 from FSU as well.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous educational recognition and certifications, along with writing various articles and leading many educational presentations. Dr. Lowery now moves on to compete against other local award recipients from the Region IV Sandhills/South Central Region of the state. After the state selection process is completed, one principal will be selected as the 2017 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year.

“I want all the children I teach to become productive members of society …,” said Cumberland County Schools’ 2017 Teacher of the Year (TOY) Todd McCabe, an 8th-grade Social Studies
teacher at John Griffin Middle School, “… a society without hate, but full of compassion for all mankind.”

The announcement of the 2017 Cumberland County Schools’ (CCS) Teacher of the Year was made during an annual dinner in the ballroom at the Embassy Suites Fayetteville on
September 12.

McCabe, who is a military veteran, said his path to becoming a teacher was not a predictable one.

“I unfortunately made numerous poor choices, until one teacher took the time to notice, to care and to guide me. He instilled in me that I had the power to guarantee my
life’s outcome would be more positive than how it began. In time, his deed of mentoring me ignited my desire to teach.”

“An advantage of teaching social studies is that the topics we discuss from the
past resonate into the future as well. Throughout my years of teaching, I have brought in guest mentors such as veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project. We have participated
in various humane programs such as Operation Christmas Child. My students
are learning that we must push our communities to affect change that benefits all, not just within our school or on the local level, but globally as well,” said McCabe.

The seasoned educator said he also makes it a point to develop a rapport with his students by modeling compassion and caring for each child. “All in all, I believe that building relationships with my students and respecting them as individuals is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy,” said McCabe. “I attempt each day in my classroom and during my lessons to
do away with the Me vs. Them notion. I embrace daily the idea of US and
togetherness. For a student to learn in any classroom, I believe they must feel accepted as individuals, not only by the teacher, but by their classmates as well. In my classroom, we celebrate the differences that make each of us unique and by doing so, we give each of us
individually ‘a voice.’”

McCabe describes his classes as high energy with movement and collaboration that occurs on a daily basis. “I strive to be the one class students don’t want to miss,” said McCabe.

Through the years, his approach in the classroom has impacted many young lives as seen in a letter a mother had written him about her daughter, who had just lost her father and was fearful of middle school and the burdens of life.


The mother wrote: “When school started she was so afraid, and I was terrified, but then, she met you … I noticed her saying things like ‘Mr. McCabe is going to be so proud of me …’ You went beyond the call of a teacher and inspired my daughter to do very best and for that, I want you to know that you are being prayed for everyday for the rest of your life.”

McCabe keeps the letter framed in his home office. He said it hangs there as a reminder of his mission. McCabe received his undergraduate degree in History from Fayetteville State University. Through the years,the 15-year teaching veteran has also received numerous teaching awards and is affiliated with various professional organizations.