• Teacher of the Year Bios

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Summer Riley

Since 2001, Summer Riley has been an advocate for literacy as a teacher to Winston-Salem’s elementary and Pre-K students. At the Downtown School, she has been a leader in enrichment clusters, curriculum development and a wide range of other programs. She works hard to make sure that every student stays active in their own path to success.

“It takes a courageous individual to set such a high bar and to work tirelessly to make sure it happens,” said Principal Andy Lester-Niles. “That is Summer. She never gives excuses, never settles for mediocrity, never gives up.”

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Emily Ruebel

Emily Ruth Ruebel has been a kindergarten teacher in WS/FCS since 2015. She stays busy with volunteer opportunities, leading professional development for new teachers, pursuing her master’s degree and more. Her tireless dedication to improving her craft and her community is an inspiration to everyone at Vienna.

“Mrs. Ruebel’s work ethic is beyond reproach,” said Early Learning Partner Stacey Warner. “She works and leads with integrity and keeps students at the heart of all decisions.”

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Kimberly Watkins

Kimberly Dawn Watkins is all about growth and development, and she always expects the best from both herself and her students. She specializes in building strong relationships with students, colleagues and parents and implementing programs that maximize achievement. Her refusal to give up when things look most difficult makes a noticeable impact on student progress at Winston-Salem Prep.

“Ms. Watkins has provided key interventions, organizing Saturday Academy, providing leadership in Professional Learning Communities, and leading our Educator Rising program,” said Assistant Principal Kim Kelley. “She is highly intelligent, has good analytical skills, and she can communicate effectively and assist her colleagues in their own growth.”

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Mahra Whitelock

First and foremost, Mahra Whitelock is a lifelong learner who prides herself on strong critical thinking skills. Her teaching strategy is guided by knowledge of child development and adult learning theories, instructional methodologies, and curriculum mapping strategies that align with human performance goals in education. Above all, she cares about her students and teaches them however will best suit their needs.

“Mahra Whitelock exemplifies the professionalism every educator should have,” said Teacher Jennifer Seabourn. “She always puts students first, treats each student as an individual, holds each student accountable to high academic standards, and is always willing to go the extra mile to meet the needs of a student.”

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Nicole Wooten

Nicole Wooten is an energetic teacher driven to continue to learn and grow professionally to be the most effective teacher she can be. She focuses on versatility, adapting to new innovations in technology and building teaching strategies around specific students. Her effectiveness as an educator is matched by the value she provides as a colleague and a friend.

“She has this way of sensing when you need an encouraging word, a hug, a prayer,” said Principal Angela Reeves. “Her support and reassurance have meant the world to me.”