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Setting the tone: Educators honored at annual convocation
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Setting the tone: Educators honored at annual convocation

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The Mooresville Graded School District held its annual convocation ceremony Monday to jumpstart the 2021-22 academic school year set to begin Aug. 2.

The Mooresville High School Marching Band welcomed teachers, staff and administration bright and early to the ceremony, held at the MHS Performing Arts Center, where Superintendent Stephen Mauney delivered a message to set the tone for the new school year.

“I hope and pray that this year will not be as challenging pandemic-wise,” said Mauney. “It’s going to be challenging. Adversity is inevitable, but it’s how we respond. That we can control what we can control. That’s how we respond to things. That sets us apart and makes this organization, Mooresville Graded, a blessing to our community.”

Mauney directed the teachers and staff gathered to become “warm demanders” or people able to effectively combine relationship building with a high level of expectation to help the 6,021 students enrolled this academic year succeed.

“I want you to be a warm demander,” Mauney said. “Find kids to build those relationships with, to hold to high expectations and to keep them accountable.”

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The MGSD administration also recognized several educators with special awards Monday.

Mi-Waye’s Gary Merriman was named the 2021 Beginning Teacher of the Year. Other candidates for this award included Rebecca Boyles from Park View Elementary; Savanna Godbold, from Rocky River Elementary; Rachel Younce from South Elementary; Rebeccah Roland from East Mooresville Intermediate; Kerri Wright from Mooresville Intermediate; and Emily Phillips from Mooresville High School.

MGSD Online Academy teacher Dana Samuel was named the 2021 Teacher of the Year and won a new Ford Escape from Jeff and Grant Shoe of Mooresville Ford. “Figuring out how to provide quality instruction virtually during a global pandemic was a challenge and a bit scary for everyone,” Samuel said. “We are all blessed to work in a district that was well prepared to quickly accommodate our students and a district that values public education and its staff.”

Other candidates for this award included Susie Harkey from Park View Elementary; Trena Morrison from Rocky River Elementary; Sherrill Miller from South Elementary; Yvonne Cosme-Martinez from East Mooresville Intermediate; Yasmyn Southerland from Mooresville Intermediate; Jaclyn McAllister from Mooresville Middle; Lucy Croakman from Mooresville High School and Timothy Anselmo from Mi-Waye.

Shelly Harris, now the principal of Mooresville Intermediate School, was named the 2021 Assistant Principal of the Year for her previous work at Mooresville Intermediate School. South Elementary School Principal Mark Cottone was named the 2021 Principal of the Year.

Cottone thanked his teachers and staff for battling through last year when COVID-19 clusters shut down the school for weeks at a time. “We adjusted but never quit,” he said. Cottone encouraged MGSD teachers and staff to embrace the profession of education and to live by three things he lives by: being humble, doing hard work that needs to be done and being not just a coach but coachable.

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