New Hanover County Schools names 2023-2024 educators of the year

Students walk through the hallway of their school.
Students walk through the hallway of their school.(WECT)
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 3:40 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools has announced the recipients of the 2023-2024 Educator of the Year Awards.

“NHCS recognized the winners at the annual Educator of the Year Celebration at Brooklyn Arts Center for their outstanding dedication and commitment to their students, schools, and communities,” states an NHCS announcement from Monday, May 8.

The winners of the elementary, middle school and high school Educator of the Year awards are:

  • Nikki Karnes at Masonboro Elementary School
  • Clary French at Williston Middle School
  • Fatima Sail at Ashley High School

Sail also was named Overall Educator of the Year, with NHCS writing in the announcement that “Ms. Sail’s dedication to her students and innovative teaching methods make her a role model for educators across the district.”

Christianne May from Castle Hayne Elementary School was named Principal of the Year.

“These educators represent the best of our school district, and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication,” said Dr. Charles Foust, Superintendent of New Hanover County Schools. “Their commitment to their students and their schools inspires us all.”

Sail will receive $5,000 from Jeff Hovis of Intracoastal Realty, $350 from the Board of Education and $500 from Hendrick Toyota Wilmington. Karnes and French will also receive awards from the BOE and Toyota, and Principal May will receive $1,000.

All educators of the year will receive $100 from the BOE, 11 finalists will get another $150 and a HotWorx membership and principal finalists will receive $500. You can see the full list of awardees below:


  • Ashley Sansing - Annie H. Snipes Academy of Arts and Design
  • Heidi Pfirman - Bradley Creek Elementary School
  • Chloe Mabe - Carolina Beach Elementary School
  • Angelica Hicks - Castle Hayne Elementary School
  • Jennifer Chetti - College Park Elementary School
  • Rebecca Long - College Road Early Childhood Center
  • Victoria Rexroad - Dorothy B. Johnson Pre-K Center
  • Jaimie Lang - Dr. Hubert Eaton Sr. Elementary School
  • Collins Hewett - Dr. John Codington Elementary School
  • Ambie Hower - Edwin A. Alderman Elementary School
  • Kimberly Houser* - Edwin A. Anderson Elementary School
  • Ashley Keegan - Forest Hills Global Elementary
  • Cheryl Emmerich - Heyward C. Bellamy Elementary School
  • Whitney MacDaniel - Holly Tree Elementary School
  • Kasseady Beam - John J. Blair Elementary School
  • Jennifer Hinson - Lake Forest Academy
  • Kevin Murphy* - Mary C. Williams Elementary School
  • Kimberly Huene - Mary Washington Howe Pre-K Center
  • Nikki Karnes* - Masonboro Elementary
  • Lacey Somech - Murrayville Elementary School
  • Danielle Smallwood* - Ogden Elementary School
  • Tommy Tarrant - Pine Valley Elementary School
  • Aubree Garcia - Porters Neck Elementary School
  • Kamica Morris - Rachel Freeman School of Engineering
  • Taylor Adams - Sunset Park Elementary
  • Tara Mulvey* - Winter Park Elementary School
  • Amy Pollard - Wrightsboro Elementary School
  • Sarah Holliday - Wrightsville Beach Elementary School

Middle School

  • Robert Roth - Charles P. Murray Middle School
  • Schala Harper - Emma B. Trask Middle School
  • Kelly Meddock - Holly Shelter Middle School
  • Jennifer Booth* - The International School at Gregory
  • Catherine Massa - JC Roe Center
  • Britt Rogers - M.C.S. Noble Middle School
  • Brittany Kontas - Myrtle Grove Middle School
  • Lori Roy* - Roland-Grise Middle School
  • Clary French* - Williston Middle School

High School

  • Erin Daniels - Career Readiness Academy at Mosley PLC
  • Tod Bonello - Emsley A. Laney High School
  • Fatima Sail* - Eugene Ashley High School
  • Daniel Walter - Isaac Bear Early College High School
  • Shaney Fersinger - John T. Hoggard High School
  • Taylor Henderson* - New Hanover High School
  • Gayle Woodcock* - Southeast Area Technical High School
  • Amanda Sharp-Royals - Wilmington Early College High School


  • Christianne May - Castle Hayne Elementary
  • Paul Slovik - Porters Neck Elementary
  • Diego Lehocky - Sunset Park Elementary