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Press Release-2023 Teacher of the Year Announced


New Bern, NC- For more than 50 years our nation has honored teachers with the National Teacher of the Year Program. In 2014, the NC Department of Public Instruction announced their partnership with Burroughs Wellcome Fund as the new major sponsor of the North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program. Since 1970, North Carolina has participated in this program recognizing outstanding teachers. Craven County Schools has participated in the Teacher of the Year Program for many years and is proud to recognize one of the many outstanding educators in the district as our 2023-2024 Teacher Ambassador/ Teacher of the Year.

Nardi Routten, a 4th Grade Math Teacher at Creekside Elementary has been selected as the 2023-2024 Teacher Ambassador for Craven County Schools. As an elementary teacher, Ms. Routten communicates the importance of education through her actions in the classroom. She cultivates relationships with students by allowing them to see to her desire to be a life-long learner. Ms. Routten is passionate about taking risks to benefit her students and being a reflective educator. As the Craven County Schools Teacher Ambassador, Ms. Routten will serve as the local advisor to the Board of Education and will represent Craven County Schools at various community and civic events. Ms. Routten now moves on to compete against other local award recipients for the Southeast Regional Teacher of the Year title. Nardi Routten was chosen following an application, a presentation and interview process with the local selection committee, comprising of the current Teacher of the Year (SE Regional Teacher of the Year), the current Principal of the Year (SE Regional of the Year), central office staff, and a community leader.

Nardi Routten has been teaching for 25 years, with many of those years in the state of Florida. She came to Craven County Schools in the fall of 2019. Ms. Routten is committed to the success of all learners and creates learning experiences based on continuous improvement and rigorous content. In her application, Ms. Routten stated, “My goal is to guide and facilitate student learning to where students own their learning and progress. My students and I created a learning board where we analyze specific data to make improvements based on that data”.

When asked about the rewards she has found in teaching Ms. Routten stated, “my students influence me to the best I can be. If I am the best I can be, I can help my students be the best they can be”. Ms. Routten discussed how impressed she was with Craven County coming to the district from Florida and how she feels very supported here. These are messages she would share in her role as Teacher of the Year. Congratulations to Nardi Routten, the 2023-2024 Craven County Schools’ Teacher Ambassador/ Teacher of the Year.

Being selected as the Teacher Ambassador/ Teacher of the Year is one of the highest honors the district bestows on an educator. Our teachers have stepped up to demonstrate their love and commitment in new ways. It is more important than ever to recognize our teachers for their hard work. This year’s finalists included a talented and dedicated group of educators from across Craven County. The passion for teaching and learning was evident in their portfolios, presentations and interviews. This year’s finalists are:

Catherine Baylis – 3rd grade Teacher at Roger Bell New Tech Academy

Marianna Dunn – English Teacher at New Bern High School

Marland “Matt” Reid – Physical Education Teacher H J MacDonald Middle School

John Scrafpin – STEM Teacher at Havelock High School


Congratulations to all our finalists for what they do each day for the students and families in Craven County. The work of these teachers is transforming today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders.