AUTRYVILLE — Smiling, Megan Fussell walked around her classroom and interacted with students as they worked in their learning stations Tuesday.
“We do learning stations every day,” Fussell said with enthusiasm about her first grade class. “They work together as a team on subjects such as science, social studies and reading.”
Fussell enjoys teaching.
“I love kids and I’m very passionate about my job,” she attested. “It’s a fun job and there’s never a boring moment. Every day I never have to question if I’m making difference.”
The Clement Elementary School educator was recently named the 2014-215 Teacher of the Year for Sampson County Schools. “It’s very exciting and a great honor,” Fussell said. “It’s just nice to be recognized for what I do every day.”
Fussell was nominated by her colleagues at the school and the process also included interviews and classroom observation by a team of educators. The announcement was made during a recent banquet.
It was, the educator said, a big surprise.
“I just remembered my legs starting shaking,” she said. “I had no idea.”
She appreciates being a teacher for Sampson County Schools.
“I love my school,” Fussell said of Clement. “I have a great first-grade team to work with. They’re the best team. It makes my job easier when I have a supportive team to work with. This is a great environment for me to work in.”
For Fussell, the next step includes preparing for a chance to become the regional Teacher of the Year.
After graduating from Union High School in 2001, Fussell earned a degree from Eastern Carolina University in 2005. She recently received a master’s in elementary education from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. Fussell has also applied for National Board Certification, which is a three-year process.
She currently resides in Clinton with her husband, John. Fussell is very active in her church and is involved with several ministries, volunteering and tutoring programs.
As a youth, Fussell had many teachers. But her greatest inspiration was her mother Carol Honeycutt. Honeycutt taught freshman English at Union High School for more than 30 years.
“She actually was my ninth-grade English teacher, too,” Fussell stressed. “Being around her, I tried to model myself after what I’ve seen her do.”
Honeycutt was the first person she called.
Clement principal Linda Williams said the school is pleased with her recognition.
“We support her 100 percent,” Williams said. “The students love her and she’s a fantastic teacher.”
Williams said Fussell’s rigorous lessons engage children in the classroom.
“They enjoy coming to school and they enjoy her class,” Williams said. “She provides a lot of opportunities for growth, especially in the 21st century. She’s just a well-rounded super teacher.”
Fussell likes to make children feel that every voice is validated.
“Every one learns differently and I like to celebrate every success, no matter how small,” she said.
She selected first grade because she enjoys working with little children and has a passion for reading.
“By the beginning of the year, many of them can’t read at all and by the end of the year, I see the growth,” Fussell said. “Many of them become independent readers.”
Fussell said it’s also a fun age group to teach.
“They still have that excitement for learning and you can see their eyes light up when they learn something for the first time,” she said.
Fussell said it’s not a flashy job, but she believes it’s the most important and influential occupation in the world because it touches lives every day.
“I can remember every teacher that I had,” she said. “They were very important to me as a student and I hope that I can be that important to my students.”
Isaiah Waters is one of many students who enjoy having her as a teacher. He said Fussell makes learning fun.
“She’s very nice and she does a lot of fun stuff,” Isaiah said. “She’s a great teacher.”