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Barry Semifinalist for Teacher of the Year

Tomas Pierce, Photography Editor

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Shane Barry, physics teacher, was nominated for teacher of the year and was a finalist. He was not expecting to be nominated for teacher of the year for the 2017-2018 school year. Since then he has worked hard to become a finalist for teacher of the year in Wake County.

“To be honest I got caught off guard by it. I absolutely was not expecting it,” said Barry.

For teacher of the year, Barry wrote seven documents responding to seven prompts. He wrote each one in a different style. One was written as a dialog, another as a lab procedure.

“It has been a lot of extra work along the way, but it is definitely something to consider an honor. Going kind of into my teaching style, they asked us to submit seven different essays as our portfolio for our teaching skills and items like that. Rather than write seven essays (because as a physics teacher that is not really my strength) I decided to respond to each one in a bit of a different manner, that was a little bit more towards my style, and my strengths,” said Barry.

Barry talked about how different people have different strengths. In particular, he focused on how this applied to his situation. He identified the prompts created for teacher of the year as essay prompts that give english professors a natural advantage.

“I opened up with a famous cartoon that shows a man sitting at a desk and a lineup of different animals, and he says alright, for your final exam, you’re all going to be graded the same way: we’re going to see who can climb this tree. One of the animals is a monkey, which obviously is what the test is aimed at, but there’s an elephant, and a fish, and a penguin, and all these different animals. So I decided to respond a little better with my strengths, so one of the responses was written like a lab procedure like I would give in physics. One was a chart where I put some made up data on it and interpreted the data. Another was actually we had a back and forth, an interview type style,” said Barry.

The process for choosing teacher of the year is as follows. First, teachers are nominated by their peers. These nominees develop portfolios of their teaching. They are then narrowed down to semifinalists by a panel. These semifinalists make a videos reflecting their district’s Strategic Plan. A committee chooses the finalists from the semifinalists based on the video. These finalists then appear before an interview committee. The winner is chosen based on their combined score from their portfolio, video, and interview.

“I am honestly not surprised. He does so much for everyone and helps people with anything they need, including stuff that happens outside of school,” said Ibraheem Wahdan, sophomore at Athens Drive.

Barry is one of 13 finalists this year. The other 12 finalists are Laura Abrahams of Hortons Creek Elementary, Allyson Caudill of Barwell Road Elementary, Lizzie Casey of Northwoods Elementary, Allison DuVal of West Cary Middle, Karli Eller of of Leesville Road Elementary, Jasmine Frantz of Apex Friendship High, Elizabeth Jordan of Fox Road Elementary, Jason Norton of Herbert Akins Road Elementary, Kathleen Noland of Laurel Park Elementary, MaryLu Ringwood of Forestville Road Elementary, Tara Wood of Reedy Creek Elementary and Courtney Rudder of East Cary Middle School.

The winner of teacher of the year would win an award, several gifts and grants, the specifics of which would vary based on the sponsors.

“I felt like it was important to get the point across that not everyone is going to be the same,” said Barry.

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