Honored teacher inspires readers
Published: February 14, 2007 | 5539th good news item since 2003
It’s never too late to follow your dreams. For living proof, look no farther than Emily Simpson, West Pender Middle School reading teacher and Pender County Educator of the Year.
“I kinda got a late start, I did everything in reverse,” Simpson said with a laugh.
In 1988 she got her Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of North Carolina Wilmington after she had married, given birth to two children and worked as a substitute teacher.
“After my boys were in school I started substituting, and with a lot of encouragement from the teachers around me, I went back to school,” Simpson said.
Every year, Pender County honors teachers from each school for outstanding service and commitment to students. From this group, one individual is selected as the Pender County Educator of the Year. As a result of the award, Communities In Schools of Cape Fear, in partnership with the Dunlea group, presented Simpson with a brand new Dell computer.
Simpson went to the regional competition for educators of the year in Jacksonville on Oct. 27.
“I had a wonderful time,” she said. “I didn’t go any further, but it was a good experience and I learned a lot.”
Simpson came to West Pender Middle School three years ago from Penderlea Elementary. After 19 years teaching in Pender County, the years run together, but her drive is still strong.
“You go home at night and you are tired, but you are contented,” Simpson said.
Children come to Simpson for 45 minutes a day for additional tutoring in basic reading skills. “The kids love her,” said June Robbins, principal of West Pender Middle. “She loves the kids, and she creates a love of reading.”
Simpson uses a combination of hands-on skill building, computers, drills, patience and old fashioned reading aloud. “The neat thing about it is that I get to sit and listen to each child read,” Simpson said.
She also has some extra special help in her classroom: Her 80-year-old mother volunteers to listen to children read. They call her “Mama Dora” and fight over who gets to read with her.
Simpson gives lots of credit to the staff and her colleagues, but at the end of the day, it’s the kids she loves the most, she said.
“I love teaching,” she said. “My husband says I’d do it even if they didn’t pay me.”