Educators Honored for Love, Care for Students


The CCS Educational Foundation honored Laura Alston of Burns Middle, Lori Evatt of Grover Elementary, and the Late Vivian Fite of Burns High as the 2018 Hoyt Q. Bailey Agape Award.

The awards program, sponsored annually by the Foundation, was held in conjunction with the Carl DeBrew Heroes program to recognize three teachers whose love for teaching impacts the lives of students within and outside the classroom. This year, every school submitted wonderful stories about teachers who have shown extreme love and care for students throughout our county.  After a thorough selection process by a review panel, Laura Alston, Lori Evatt, and the Late Vivian Fite emerged as this year’s district winners.

These teachers were also recognized as school-level Agape Award winners and were presented with a certificate:

  • Connor Justice of Bethware Elementary

  • Angela Ramsey of Boiling Springs Elementary

  • Teressa Ridings of Casar Elementary

  • Matthew Love of Cleveland Early College High

  • Daniel Thomas of Crest High

  • Chantell Degree of Crest Middle

  • Robyn Wooten of East Elementary

  • Katherine Tavormina of Fallston Elementary

  • Ashley Gilmore of Graham Elementary

  • Dimayquoaye Smith of James Love Elementary

  • Jessica McMiller of Jefferson Elementary

  • Tara Fleisher of Kings Mountain High

  • Kalisa Norman of Kings mountain Intermediate

  • Margaret Thomas of Kings Mountain Middle

  • Rebecca Padgett of Marion Elementary

  • Sarah Sherrill of North Elementary

  • Joshua Fulp of North Shelby School

  • Tammy Brooks of Shelby High

  • Erin Whitaker of Shelby Intermediate

  • Janet Brown of Shelby Middle

  • Leigh Ann Fitzmorris of Springmore Elementary

  • Megan Ezell of Township Three Elementary

  • Erika Warthen of Turning Point Academy

  • Dawn Camp of Union Elementary

  • Susan Johnson of Washington Elementary

  • Leigh Anne Bouchard of West Elementary

About Mr. Hoyt Q. Bailey
Hoyt Bailey was a champion of education in Cleveland County.  He served as a long-term member and chairman of the Cleveland County Board of Education.  He generously gave of his time and resources on behalf of education.  He especially admired teachers and the work they do with students.

About the Finalists (The following excerpts are from the original nominations)

Burns Middle
Laura Alston

Mrs. Alston routinely goes above and beyond for her students. She works hard to challenge and motivate her students, always striving to create opportunities for them to learn and succeed. She’s concerned about the whole student - doing everything she can to ensure that her students’ needs are met so that they are ready to learn each day. It’s not uncommon to see her provide school supplies, clothing, and/or food for her students if and when she becomes aware of a need.

Of all the many attributes that qualify her for this recognition, the one that stands out the most is her deep concern for all of her students - even those that are the most challenged. The best example of this involves one of her students she met last school year. The child was in foster care and faced multiple academic and behavioral challenges. The child struggled here at school - socially, academically, and behaviorally. Yet, Mrs. Alston was able to reach and motivate this child in her classroom. She saw something good in this child, something worth saving. For this reason, she didn’t hesitate to open her home this past summer after learning that the child was going to be placed in a group home, counties away, if a new foster parent could not be found. Today, due to her generosity and concern, this student is thriving at Burns Middle.

School: Grover
Lori Evatt

Every day Lori Evatt teaches with a purpose – to push her students to mastery and to develop a passion for reading. On any given day, you will find her students working hard to correct mistakes on classroom assignments or rework problems on tests until they understand their errors. She can be found sitting in their midst in a small group setting to work with them until they understand – until they “get it.” She motivates the students in her classroom to work hard by praising them and insisting that they ARE the best students in the school and that she has the BEST classroom in the whole school! Her students hear this on a daily basis.

Mrs. Evatt serves our school not only as an excellent classroom teacher but in any capacity she is needed. Most recently, that has included serving as a bus monitor in the afternoon and riding an hour route to ensure good bus behavior and safety. In addition, she makes herself available to her students after school for extra support. Parents know Mrs. Evatt will be there for tutoring when needed. When children need her, she is always there!

School: Burns High
The Late Vivian Fite

Mrs. Fite was a very caring and loving teacher who went way above and beyond what is expected. She was always the first one to work and the one of the last to leave. Her door was always open to help any student that needed help and would often have students in her room before and after school for tutoring. She was always a very loving and cheerful person who loved what she did and the students she worked with. She wanted to make sure everyone succeeded and would do whatever was required to help make sure that happened. Mrs. Fite was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2018 and continued to work until her health became too bad.

Mrs. Fite came to school in a wheelchair for several weeks, even though she medically didn't need to, because she was concerned about her students. After she had left and was in the hospital, she was still doing lesson plans, grading papers, writing notes for students she was concerned about, calling to check on students, etc. She continued to enter lessons in canvas so the sub would be able to go over all material that was required. She stayed in touch with the school until the end to check on her classes and her students to make sure she would be prepared for the new year.

She was a very special and faithful person who will be missed by the entire school and community.

Greg Shull