Meghan Welty named Burke’s Teacher of the Year

Freedom teacher Meghan Welty named Burke’s Teacher of the Year
Posted on 04/18/2019

Morganton, NC – Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Meghan Welty, an exceptional children teacher at Freedom High School, has been named the Burke County Public Schools 2019 teacher of the year. Welty is in her seventh year of teaching and her fourth year at Freedom High School.

Welty started her teaching career at North Liberty School, where she also did an internship while in college. Welty, who originally wanted to be an occupational therapist, said her internship at North Liberty drew her into teaching. She said, “I have always possessed an unwavering passion for individuals with disabilities, but it was in room 131 at North Liberty that I fell in love with teaching.”

Welty said she is grateful for the opportunity to do something she loves every day. She said, “I have a passion for teaching students with disabilities. I love providing students with opportunities to learn and grow. I love teaching my students that they are capable of accomplishing anything they set their minds to. Their victories are my victories; their failures are my failures. I believe that each action, each lesson, each hug, each laugh, and each moment molds them into productive citizens and life-long learners.”

Welty believes in building awareness to the benefits of inclusion for her students and creating avenues for those in her school and the community to partner with students of varying ability levels, she said, “So that goals that were determined to be unreachable, suddenly become achievable.”

One of Welty’s recent accomplishments is a life skills apartment set up for her students to experience life on their own. It includes a functioning kitchen, living room and bedroom. Students practice cooking, dusting, making the bed, sorting laundry and other skills needed for independence. She has received numerous grants for this and other projects for her classroom.

At Freedom, Welty co-chairs the Exceptional Children Department and is on the leadership team and school improvement team. Her peers voted her teacher of the year in 2017 as well. She is the second teacher in a row from Freedom to be named the district’s teacher of the year, following Amy Howell as last year’s teacher of the year for Burke County Public Schools.

Welty and her husband, Troy, have a 4-year-old daughter, Keraghen. The family also has two dogs, Cooper and Boone. Outside of school Welty enjoys spending time with family, friends and worshiping at church and across the world on Satu Mare, Romania. Welty grew up in Morganton and graduated from Freedom High School. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a BS in Special Education - Adapted Curriculum.   

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam, Debbie Jennings, the director of Secondary Education and CTE for Burke County Public Schools, and Freedom High School Principal Felicia Simmons surprised Welty with the announcement on Tuesday in her classroom. Simmons then informed the school over the intercom of the honor.

Jennings said, “Mrs. Welty loves and advocates for her students and that is evident when you walk into her classroom or the life skills apartment. She is passionate about what she does, and the students respond to that passion. Mrs. Welty is well deserving of this honor.”

Larry Putnam said, “Whether she is teaching a lesson, cheering on her students at Special Olympics or helping them learn independent living skills, Mrs. Welty has a smile on her face and excitement in her voice. We are honored that she is representing Burke County as our teacher of the year.”

Each school 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 finalists for an interview.

Putnam said, “Congratulations to all of the schools’ teachers of the year. They are the best of the best. We are grateful to have a district full of passionate and creative teachers who put students first.”

The Board of Education will recognize Welty and all school-level teachers of the year at the May 13 Board of Education meeting. Welty is now eligible for the regional teacher of the year.

Teacher of the year 2019

Photo: Freedom High School teacher Meghan Welty, third from left, stands in her classroom with some of her students as well as Debbie Jennings, director of secondary education and CTE, Freedom Principal Felicia Simmons and Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam. 

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