Nicole Rivers, a Fayetteville State University (FSU) alumna, has been named Cumberland County Schools' 2021 Teacher of the Year. Rivers graduated from FSU in 2004 with a degree in Secondary English Education. She teaches English at Gray's Creek High School.
"My job as an educator is not to just get what I deem as valuable information into the minds of my students," Rivers wrote in her TOY nomination portfolio. "It is not just to show students how the words of others impact them, but how to effectively and responsibly use their words to change the world around them. So, when I see students from every level of capability do so, I feel I have done what I have been called to do: teach."
The announcement of Rivers as this year's Teacher of the Year winner was made September 14, 2020 during the district's first-ever virtual Celebration of Excellence in Teaching event.
Rivers is a 15-year veteran educator. Throughout her tenure, she has held many leadership positions, including English Department chair, co-founder and advisor of Poetic Pathos and Gray's Creek Slam, and head advisor of G.E.M.S. (Girls Expecting More Success).
As the 2021 Teacher of the Year, Rivers received:
- A trophy and flowers from Cumberland County Schools
- $300 from the Cumberland County Board of Education (CCBOE)
- $500 from Olde Fayetteville Insurance and Financial Services
- $3,000 from Lafayette Ford Lincoln ($2,000 for use at her school and $1,000 for her personal use)
- A commemorative custom-designed CCS' Teacher of the Year ring from Jostens
- A personally engraved desk clock from Herff Jones
- A gift basket of edible goodies from Zazzy Treats, LLC