HOBBTON DISTRICT — For his dedication inside and outside the classroom, Brent Rivenbark received one of the highest honors from Sampson County Schools.
The fourth-grade educator from Hobbton Elementary was recently named the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year, an announcement made during a recent district event for teachers.
“It is a great honor to be Teacher of Year for Sampson County Schools,” Rivenbark said. “To even be nominated alongside all these wonderful educators has truly been a blessing.”
During the ceremony, he was honored by Olivia Hall, 2015-16 Teacher of the Year for Sampson County Schools, and other district officials. The announcement was a big surprise for Rivenbark.
“When I told my students they quickly informed me that I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
Rivenbark has taught at Hobbton Elementary School three years. He wanted to become a teacher to have a positive impact on students.
“I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of kids,” he said. “Especially kids that might normally fall through the cracks in the educational system. The elementary years are so important in building the foundation for students to build upon as they grow.”
Prior to Hobbton Elementary School, he was a fifth-grade math and science teacher for Clinton City School for five years. He also taught fifth-grade math at Chocowinity Middle School for one year. Rivenbark grew up in Duplin County and spent most of his life in Warsaw. After high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University.
Before being named the district’s Teacher of the Year, he was selected by his peers at Hobbton Elementary and was selected by a panel from Sampson County Schools. Now, Rivenbark will compete in a regional competition and will have to submit a portfolio of his work in September.
“We’re very excited and proud to have him representing our school as Sampson County Schools Teacher of the Year,” said Hobbton Elementary Principal Dawn Wilkes. “He goes above and beyond in his math and science class. He’s very involved with our school as well as the community.”
Last year, he assisted student Zayden Atkinson with a toy drive, which received help from the Electrolyte Depletion, a local bike cycling group. Rivenbark and his teammates also organized “Ride For a Reason,” which the Methodist Home for Children in Raleigh, which provides a variety of outreach and support for families. He believes it’s essential for residents get involved when it comes to helping others.
“The more we can give back, the better,” Rivenbark said. “It sets examples for kids too. If they see us involved as teachers and adults, they’re going to get involved too and get excited about doing stuff for the community.”
Wilkes said Rivenbark works with the students as much after school as he does during the school day. Rivenbark leads Hobbton’s Saturday science academy and is assists with the school’s student government association and STRIDE, a physical activity group.
“He’s very well liked and respected by the students and staff at Hobbton Elementary,” Wilkes said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.