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Meet our teacher of the year - Lisa Wall, Burke Middle College

posted Apr 26, 2017, 1:53 PM by Cheryl Shuffler
Watch Lisa Wall's Teacher of the Year Video 

Lisa Wall, an English Language Arts teacher at Burke Middle College, has been named the Burke County Public Schools 2017 teacher of the year. Wall is in her seventh year at Burke Middle College and has 22 total years of experience teaching.

Wall has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a National Board Certified teacher and is licensed to teach Advanced Placement classes. She started her teaching career at Forsyth County Schools in 1992 and came to Burke County Public Schools as a high school English teacher in 1998. Wall has taught at East Burke High, Draughn High and Burke Middle. She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International and the North Carolina English Teachers Association and has been a presenter at various district, regional and state conferences.

Wall first wanted to become a pediatrician, but fell in love with English in college. She said, “The more classes I took in English and literature, the more I began to realize my passion was not to be found in the healthcare field, but in the classroom molding the minds of young people. I had many great teachers who inspired and encouraged me. They nurtured my creativity and encouraged me to think deeply and to express my opinions. As I contemplated what direction to take, I knew I wanted to make that same kind of lasting, positive impact on young people’s lives through my devotion to the teaching profession.”

Burke Middle College is a special program for high school juniors and seniors on the campus of Western Piedmont Community College. The students have to apply to the program and once accepted, work to complete their high school diploma as well as a two-year associate’s degree. In addition to the impact Wall has made on her students in the classroom, she has left her mark on the school through a textbook scholarship program and by composing the school’s alma mater.

“Since coming to this innovative program seven years ago,” Wall said, “I have used my teaching skills far beyond the walls of my English classroom. I believe quality education must involve the total student. Therefore, I address the needs of my students in areas related to their family situations and their extracurricular interests.”

One of those needs is college affordable textbooks, which can be a hardship for families of Burke Middle School students. Wall reached out to a local foundation to start an emergency scholarship fund in 2010 to help students in need buy textbooks. Burke Middle College received $10,000 to create the Burke Middle College Enhancement Fund, which now is managed by the Western Piedmont Foundation.

Wall’s love for music led her to start a chorus program at Burke Middle College. She received grants and purchased a keyboard, instruments, sheet music and tracks. She said, “When students commit to come to our program at Burke Middle College, they must leave behind their participation in sports, clubs and music programs from their previous schools.”

Wall’s vision was for the chorus program to give students a creative outlet, a chance to build relationships with classmates and a place to showcase their talents. The chorus inspired Wall to compose the alma mater for Burke Middle College.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Congratulations to Mrs. Wall on being our teacher of the year. She has such a passion for her students, her school and her profession and that shows in everything she does. We are proud to have her represent Burke County as teacher of the year and she is truly deserving of this honor.”

Burke Middle College Principal Kathy Amos said, “A poet, songwriter and devoted mother – Mrs. Wall is the ultimate high school teacher. She is enthusiastic, energetic and she truly cares for her students. Mrs. Wall goes above and beyond to help her students learn and grow.”

Wall is married to Tripp Wall, a pharmacist at Broughton Hospital and they have two daughters, Scarlett, a junior at UNC Wilmington, and Molly, a junior at Draughn High. Wall grew up in Burke County and went to Icard Elementary, Drexel Junior High and East Burke High. Her parents are Tom and Mary Keller of Drexel.

When she’s not grading essays or leading the school chorus, Wall enjoys writing poems, songs and skits, sings in her church choir and is active at East Valdese Baptist Church. She also is committed to exercising each morning.

All 27 schools in the district selected a teacher of the year. The school-level recipients completed a written portfolio and submitted videos in which they talked about teacher leadership, student-centered classrooms, accountability and their platform as teacher of the year. A committee reviewed the portfolios and videos and selected six finalists for an interview.

Putnam said, “The selection committee had a tough job in choosing our teacher of the year. We have passionate and creative teachers throughout our district and that was evident in their essays and their videos, which was new to the selection process this year. I look forward to sharing some of these videos with the public so they can hear from our talented teacher leaders. Congratulations to all of our school-level teachers of the year. Consider it an honor to have been chosen by your peers for this distinction. You are the best of the best.” 

The Board of Education will recognize Wall and all school-level teachers of the year at the May 22 Board of Education meeting. Wall is now eligible for the regional teacher of the year.


Chesterfield                           Jonie Daniels

Drexel                                     Josh Peterson

Forest Hill                               Angie Crawford

George Hildebrand               Stacey Springall

Glen Alpine                            Addie Brittian

Hildebran                               Brandy Moody

Icard                                       Amanda Rollins

Mountain Crest                     Connie Fox

Mull                                        Angela Anders

Oak Hill                                   April Morgan

Ray Childers                          Lori Vestal

Rutherford College               Stephanie Mull

Salem                                      Katie Huffman

Valdese                                   Stormi Bingham

W.A. Young                             Janet Lawson

East Burke Middle                Laura Edall

Heritage Middle                    Keisha Bowman

Liberty Middle                       Erin Snyder

Table Rock Middle                Cindi Bradshaw

Walter Johnson Middle        Donna Lindecamp

Hallyburton                           Susan Erickson

North Liberty                         Laura Livingston

Burke Middle College           Lisa Wall  

Draughn High                        Laura Cook

East Burke High                    Hampton Boggs

Freedom High                        Meghan Welty

Patton High                            Christopher Collins