September 27th, 2019
Todd promotes student success
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Each year, a teacher is chosen from the Rose faculty to be recognized as Teacher of the Year and given the opportunity to compete for Pitt County Teacher of the Year. The vote was held the week of Monday, Nov. 9, and science teacher Clinton Todd was chosen out of the six Rose teachers nominated.
“I’m honored to be nominated by my fellow faculty members and I’m glad that people do recognize that I really do care about the work that I do,” Todd said. “Having really supportive and collaborative colleagues has been vital.”
Last year, physical education teacher Liz Barbee was named Rose Teacher of the Year and in keeping with tradition, she helped to coordinate choosing this year’s Teacher of the Year.
“I create a google form ... and basically give staff the option to nominate somebody and they would submit their name,” Barbee said. “I take their name and go around the school and ask the people
Photo by Jackson Surles
who were nominated if they accept the nomination.”
Some teachers choose not to accept their nomination often because they feel that they are not prepared to take on the additional responsibilities the role requires or because they have been Teacher of the Year in the past and want to give other teachers the opportunity to have the honor instead. Todd, however, has been teaching at Rose for 14 years and was well-prepared to take on the responsibilities which include being the facility’s representative in Academic Boosters meetings, attending cabinet and leadership team meetings and being prepared to give speeches at school events.
“I was shocked when I learned that he had never been teacher of the year, I just kinda assumed that he had already been voted that because he’s such a great teacher,” Barbee said. “He’s one of the nicest guys you’ve ever met and has great classroom management ... I think he’s a safe place for a lot of our students and a lot of faculty as well tend to go to him with problems, just you know someone you can trust and confide in, someone you always want on your staff.”
If the teacher does accept the nomination, the person who nominated them writes a description of them including brief background information and reasons they should be chosen for the honor. At that point, teachers vote on the remaining nominees.
English teacher Johnny Armstrong was one of the teachers who nominated Todd and took on the responsibility of writing up the official nomination.
“Mr. Todd’s kindness and [care] for the students he teaches [and] the fact that he teaches the whole student and he doesn’t just teach his subject matter [makes him stand out],” Armstrong said.
Not only was Todd described as an excellent teacher, but also as being deeply involved in the community. While he has been unable to this year due to COVID-19, he usually works with Aquaventure, a local aquatic center, to give his Honors Marine Biology class the opportunity to try scuba diving. Additionally, Todd is the advisor for the JHR 4 Earth club, the Envirothon team, the Anime Club and the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). Especially when working with GSA, he has gotten advice from faculty at East Carolina University (ECU) to help the club continuously improve and grow. Outside of school, he has worked for racial equality and has formed connections with community members to help prevent situations of inequality.
“I think maintaining community connections is really important,” Todd said.
While some of these efforts have been partially limited due to COVID-19 precautions, Todd has continued his efforts to make sure that Rose offers its students every opportunity to succeed.
“Some of the things I’ve done here at school have really been … about diversity and inclusion and I think there are always ways to improve those things,” Todd said. “At a modern school, I understand that the situation is different than how it may have been in the past, but as we move forward, culturally speaking, I think it’s important to make every situation as equitable to all students as it possibly can be and so I think there are some ways to improve that.”
In taking strides to champion inclusivity and diversity, Todd has risen to become not only a leader at Rose, but in the community as well.
“I was lucky enough to go to a seminar at ECU on bullying and tolerance and cultural diversity that [Todd] served on the panel,” Armstrong said. “He’s very knowledgeable, he’s very open and giving and he was an excellent panel member [so] that was one of the things that really impressed me was this work he does representing Rose outside our school.”
Through Todd’s many efforts to provide a safe and supportive space for students, he is working hard to achieve his goals. After growing up in a single parent home, Todd was able to find support at school and has made it his mission to provide the same support he received to his students.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to be a teacher is to provide that level of support particularly to the undersupported and hopefully encourage all of our students, especially those in need, to be independent and to push themselves,” Todd said. “I don’t have any kids of my own at this point, and so I take care of my students as much as I can as if they’re my own kids.”
In the upcoming weeks, Todd will be creating a portfolio to submit for the Pitt County Teacher of the Year competition. From there, several teachers will be chosen to move forward. Those chosen will be interviewed by a board and one of their classes will be observed before a winner is determined. No matter the outcome of the competition though, Armstrong and Barbee have no doubt that Todd will continue to make Rose proud.