Ephesus Elementary Teacher Named CHCCS EC Educator of Excellence
When Teresa Kanu completed her undergraduate degree in sociology at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) in 1994, an eventual career as an Exceptional Children (EC) educator wasn’t remotely on her radar. Yet after many interesting twists and turns in her professional life, in 2012, Kanu arrived at Ephesus Elementary School (EES) as an EC teacher. On September 26, Kanu was celebrated as 2019 CHCCS EC Educator of Excellence with a bouquet of flowers and unexpected visit from many of the district EC leaders. “I was very, very surprised,” Kanu said.
Speaking on her guiding beliefs, Kanu said, “Every child can learn and grow,” Continuing, she said, “I believe parents are doing the best they can with what they have. When they know better, they’ll do better. My number one goal as a teacher is to ensure the safety of every child, and to build caring, positive relationships with all my students.”
Danielle Sutton, a former Ephesus colleague of Kanu, said, “Teresa does a phenomenal job working with students with special needs.”
The nominating letter for Kanu was a collaborative testament from the EC team at Lincoln Center. “Teresa brings a genuine level of joy and excitement to every relationship she has. She is invested in her families and takes the time to foster strong relationships. She strives to build and encourage environments that focus on the academic, social, and emotional growth of every child. She not only has the skills to help students grow, but also supports the adults in the school as they focus on student success.”
Kanu speaks openly about her own childhood and the challenges of domestic strife she learned to deal with and rise above. “For me, it’s very personal, having my own adversities growing up.” She said she never takes conflict or misunderstandings personally. “We all have challenges. I’m focused on the importance of educating the whole child, and teaching my students skills for independent living.”
“Teresa is a leader among her peers as she exemplifies a work ethic where no task is too big, and she will do whatever it takes to ensure success for any student,” her nomination letter continued. “One of Teresa's best qualities is that she is truly a collaborator with all staff at the school. Teachers across the building work well with her because she will listen to their concerns and is creative with problem solving how to help the students progress towards their goals.”
The EC Educator of Excellence Award is given to one teacher in each of the 115 school districts in North Carolina, with formal recognition to all of them at the annual state Exceptional Children Conference in Greensboro in November. The nominee is chosen through his/her leadership, dedication, and service in extracurricular and non-academic activities that have improved the quality of education for exceptional children and youth.
Congratulations, Teresa Kanu, and thank you for your many gifts to EES and our community!