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SUBMITTED PHOTO Shown, from left, are Erin Spencer, Lynn Ruppard, Gina Sain, Tonya Byrd, Anetia Wright, Stacy Eckard, Douglas Byrd, Melissa Eller and Nathan Fredricks.

HICKORY — At Thursday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Hickory, Rotarian Kathy Greathouse announced the 2019 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year for the Hickory Public Schools. The award is given annually in memory of Wilmer M. Jenkins, who served as superintendent of Hickory Public Schools from July 1, 1958 – June 30, 1967 and was a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Hickory.

This year the selection committee chose Douglas Byrd, a math teacher at Northview Middle School. Byrd has been a seventh-grade teacher for his entire 10 year career in education, with the last three years spent at Northview.

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SUBMITTED PHOTO Douglas Byrd is shown with award.

Greathouse, chairperson of the Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year selection committee, noted “The winners — all 4,200 of them — are studying at desks in schools across our city. With you today are the amazing teachers who are inspiring them each day.”

Teachers nominated for this year’s award are Tonya Byrd of Viewmont Elementary; Melissa Heller, Jenkins Elementary; Lynn Ruppard, Longview Elementary; Gina Sain, Oakwood Elementary; Erin Spencer Sigmon, Southwest Elementary; Anetia Ramseur Wright, Grandview Middle School; Douglas Byrd, Northview Middle; Stacey Eckard, Hickory Career and Arts Magnet School; and Nathan Fredericks, Hickory High School.

Each nominee received a plaque and a check for $500, and the Teacher of the Year received $1,000.

These donations are made possible by the Rotary Club of Hickory’s successful fundraising activities, including the annual Rotarian Idol competition. The Rotary Club of Hickory’s ongoing commitment of financial support continues to provide necessary educational assistance locally, and is consistent with the club’s continued commitment to and financial support of local educational initiatives.

The Rotary Club of Hickory was founded in 1921 by Watt Shuford. In adherence to Rotary’s motto of “Service Above Self,” the club has a history of giving back to the community through its primary service avenue of education. For more information about the Rotary Club of Hickory, visit

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