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Sigmon named 'Teacher of the Year'
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Staff Photo by Joel Turner: Neil Sigmon has been named Franklin Countys Teacher of the Year for 2012.

Monday, May 9, 2011

By JOEL TURNER - Staff Writer

Neil Sigmon, a teacher at the Gereau Center who helped spearhead the construction of the Center for Energy Efficient Design (CEED), has been named Franklin County's Teacher of the Year for 2012.

Sigmon's selection was announced Thursday night at the school division's 22nd annual Teacher Recognition Banquet at Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

At the banquet, dozens of teachers and school employees were recognized for their years of service and other achievements during this school year.

The theme for this year's banquet, which attracted more than 400 people, was "Nothing but blue skies."

Sigmon, a teacher in the architecture and engineering module at the Gereau Center, received a $1,000 prize, a bouquet of flowers and other gifts for being named Teacher of the Year.

Sigmon was also Teacher of the Year for the Gereau Center.

Sigmon was one of the teachers who came up with the idea of the CEED eight years ago and helped shepherd it to become a reality.

The CEED is a net zero energy efficient building. Using technologies that include Passiv Haus design, earth berming, south facing solar orientation, thermal mass, geothermal energy, photovaltaics, solar hot water heaters, electricity-producing wind turbines, rainwater harvesting, energy efficient appliances, and daylighting, the building produces more energy than it needs to operate.

The CEED is the first school building in the United States to be a certified Passiv Haus structure.

Speaking after the announcement of his selection as Teacher of the Year, Sigmon thanked his colleagues and said that he was humbled by the honor.

Superintendent Charles Lackey praised the selection of Sigmon.

"What an outstanding individual for teacher of the year," Lackey said.

Georginea Johnson, who was Franklin County's Teacher of the Year for 2011, assisted Sue Rogers, assistant superintendent, in the recognition of Sigmon and the presentation of other awards at the banquet.

At the banquet, plaques were presented to the teachers of the year for each school in the county for 2012.

The following teachers were chosen by their peers as teacher of the year for their respective schools:

"Boones Mill, Nicole Sigmon, 3rd grade.

"Burnt Chimney, Deborah Hall, 1st grade.

"Callaway, Terri Naff, 4th grade.

"Dudley, Rebecca Conklin, art.

"Ferrum, Jami Wasilewski, instructional coach.

"Glade Hill, Rita Shoemaker, 2nd grade.

"Henry, Susan Foley, kindergarten.

"Lee M. Waid, Traci Oakes, 2nd grade.

"Rocky Mount, Dona Minnick, 3rd grade.

"Snow Creek, Lesley Hodges, 3rd grade.

"Sontag, Autumn Hall, 3rd grade.

"Windy Gap, Jason Banks, physical education.

"Benjamin Franklin-East, Judith Nelson, 6th grade social studies.

"Benjamin Franklin-West, Eric Coen, 7th grade math.

"Gereau Center, Neil Sigmon, engineering/architecture.

"Franklin County High School, Stewart Mason, collision and repair.

"Franklin County High School, Andrew Nester, algebra I.

"Franklin County High School, Tina Young, biology.

Of the 18 teachers of the year for the schools in the county, nine are graduates of Franklin County High School.

At the banquet, retiring teachers and administrators were also recognized, including John Bono, retiring principal at Lee M. Waid Elementary.

Bono was recognized for his 43 years of service in education.

Other retirees who were recognized were Terry Jones, special education at Lee M. Waid, and Serena Jamison, family and consumer science at FCHS.

Other teachers and administrators were recognized for 10, 20 and 25 years of service.

A highlight of the banquet was the entertainment

by the Windy Gap Elementary World Music Ensemble and The Adequate Yearly Players, a band comprised of Franklin County teachers. The band members are David Campbell, Steve Angle, Keith Pennington, Lisa Black, Denise Aspell and Brian Jones. Several students in the FCHS band also joined the band on the songs.

For 15 minutes, the teachers and administrators forgot about budget cuts, classes and the daily routine as they clapped and enjoyed the music.

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