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Oak Hill Elementary School’s Tracy Heape named BCPS Teacher of the Year

posted May 23, 2016, 6:04 AM by Terri Willms   [ updated Sep 18, 2017, 9:44 AM by Bcps Bcps ]
             Tracy Heape is the 2015-16 Burke County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Heape has been a teacher for 11 years, having spent the last nine with Burke County Public Schools at Oak Hill.

She has been the grade-level chair at Oak Hill for fifth grade since 2008. She is involved in several professional learning communities, has helped initiate professional development opportunities and presented trainings on Macbooks.

Heape has a bachelor’s in elementary education from Erskine College and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Appalachian State University.

“At the end of this life,” Heape said, “I want to leave a legacy that is carved into the hearts of children, not a tombstone.”

Heape added she seeks to achieve that through forging relationships with her students.

“I make it a point everyday to show my students I care,” she said. “Whether it’s through a hug, a compliment, or just stopping to listen, I take time to show my students each day that they matter more than a test score and that in my classroom, it is okay to make a mistake.”

Heape said she strives each day to make her lessons engaging, relevant, and meaningful. She said, “I never want to be complacent with what I did last year.”

In reflecting on her career, Heape said she has witnessed changes from overheads and transparency sheets to document cameras and smart boards to one-to-one MacBooks, but she is not afraid of change. “I have entered each technology upgrade with thanksgiving, and have thrown away files and files of outdated materials to be replaced by better instructional methods. I hold myself accountable for giving all my students the very best each day and work diligently providing multiple opportunities to help them learn and grow as individuals.”

Each of Burke County Public Schools’ 26 schools selected a teacher of the year. The school-level recipients completed a written portfolio and appeared for an interview before a selection committee.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “The committee had an excellent candidate pool from which to choose the overall teacher of the year, and I congratulate Tracy Heape for rising to the top. Mrs. Heape has a passion for her students and for what she does. She is a teacher leader inside her school and understands the importance of cultivating relationships with her students, which makes her an outstanding teacher inside the classroom.”

Heape is now eligible for the regional teacher of the year.

The Board of Education will recognize Heape and the 25 school-level teachers of the year at the May 23 Board of Education meeting.

Putnam described the school-level teachers of the year as the “best of the best,” and said they are all deserving of the honor.

“I applaud all of our school-level teachers of the year as they represent their individual schools and Burke County well. I know they are honored to have been chosen by their peers for this distinction.” 


The teachers of the year and their schools are:


Laura Horton, Chesterfield  

Whitney Harbison, Drexel  

Kathryn Vance, Forest Hill  

Lori Osborne, Glen Alpine  

Christian Underwood, Hildebran  

Brian Brickman, Mountain Crest  

Andrea Gladden, Icard  

Natalie Baker, Mull  

Lauren Kerley, Ray Childers 

Megan Jones, Rutherford College 

Debbie Chandler, Salem 

Christy Baker, Valdese 

Jennifer Mull, WA Young 

Libra Deaton, North Liberty 


Robin Joines, East Burke

Travis Poteat, Heritage

Elizabeth Walker, Liberty 

Steve Roark, Table Rock 

Joel Nile, Walter Johnson 


Jerome Ramsey, East Burke 

Holly Goforth, Freedom

Jeff Sigmon,  Draughn 

John Radecsky, Patton

Ashley Campbell St. Louis, Hallyburton 


Photo: Director of Elementary Education Kim Rudisill, Teacher of the Year Tracy Heape, Oak Hill Principal Rob Gregory and BCPS Superintendent Larry Putnam

Cheryl M. Shuffler
Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
(w) 438-2989 | (c) 432-6212