An East McDowell educator is the new McDowell County Schools Teacher of the Year.
Superintendent Mark Garrett announced that Bernardita Alarcon has been selected as the 2021-2022 Teacher of the Year for McDowell County Schools.
Alarcon has been on staff at East Middle since 2017.
Additionally, Stephanie Goudreau has been named the Elementary Teacher of the Year.
Goudreau teaches fourth grade at Old Fort Elementary.
Alarcon was elated at the news and was happy to celebrate with her students and colleagues.
“It is such an honor to be chosen as McDowell County’s Teacher of the Year among so many inspiring teachers,” she said. “I’m so pleased to represent not only East Middle (which has the most caring team of staff) but McDowell County Schools.”
Garrett and members of the district staff visited East Middle and Old Fort on Wednesday to make the announcements in front of Alarcon’s and Goudreau’s students and colleagues.
“Each of our 14 school winners is worthy of this honor,” Garrett said. “We had a great time celebrating with all of them, as well as last year’s group, at our district event last week at the Historic Carson House. We are very blessed with great teachers in McDowell County Schools.”
The faculty at each school in the district selects a school winner each year as part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Teacher of the Year process. This year’s process included submission of a professional portfolio and an interview with the district selection committee. Each year the district honors an Elementary and a Secondary Teacher of the Year. One of those two is then selected as the MCS Teacher of the Year.
Alarcon joined the staff at East Middle in 2017 as the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. Since 2019 she has also taught Spanish. From 2014 to 2017 Alarcon served as the ESL teacher at Maestra Elsa Santibáñez Middle School in her home city of Santiago, Chile.
She completed a one year stint as a Language Assistant in Manchester, England in 2013-2014.
Prior to that she served as a Monitor for the summer and winter camps sponsored by the Ministry of Education in Curico, Chile. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English Language Arts from the University of Santiago (Chile) in 2013.
“The Hispanic community is forever evolving and I’m passionate to help these students grow not only educationally, but also emotionally and socially,” she said “I’m also proud to have a daughter who teaches and supports me every day. I hope I can give back to her and my students at least half as much as they give me. I also hope that this shows other Hispanic people that they can achieve anything they want and make a huge difference by working with others as a team.”
Goudreau earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from E. Kentucky University in 1984, and then earned a Master of Science in Fisheries & Wildlife from Virginia Tech in 1988. She served as a biologist for NC Wildlife Resources from 1989 to 1997. Goudreau earned her teaching license from UNC Asheville in 2017 and joined the staff at East Middle, and was reassigned to Old Fort in 2019.
“I am humbled and grateful to have been chosen as the Elementary Teacher of the Year,” she said. “I am fortunate to have such amazing colleagues and super students at Old Fort Elementary School and appreciate them so much. Their support has been invaluable, especially during this historic school year.”