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Tonya McGill Named NCCAT 2023 Empower Beginning Teacher of the Year Finalist

01.10.23 Tonya McGill NCCAT BTOYJanuary 8, 2023  

Another one of Cumberland County Schools’ premier professionals is being recognized for making a difference in the lives of children. Tonya McGill, the district’s 2023 Beginning Teacher of the Year, has been selected as a finalist for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching’s (NCCAT) 2023 Empower NC Beginning Teacher of the Year Award.

McGill, a fourth-grade teacher at Morganton Road Elementary School, is one of 27 finalists from across the state vying for the top honor. The award will be presented on March 9, 2023, on Western Carolina University’s campus. 

“I'm extremely humbled to be in this position to represent Cumberland County Schools at the state level,” said McGill. “North Carolina teachers are Amazing. I'm honored to be called a teacher today. I'm ecstatic just thinking about the whole NCCAT experience and all the “golden nuggets” I will learn, come back and share with my students. Thank you CCS & NCCAT!” 

Ashley Porter, principal of Morganton Road Elementary School, said "While I am thrilled that Mrs. McGill has been named a finalist for the NCCAT 2023 Empower Beginning Teacher of the Year, I am certainly not surprised at the recognition. Her daily dedication she gives each of her students, paired with her refusal to accept nothing less than their very best, results in her classroom being an environment in which all can both reach and surpass their academic potential. This latest accolade awarded to her simply reinforces this, and is well-earned and most deserved."

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year will receive:

  • $5,000 cash prize
  • Participation in a GoGlobal NC trip in 2024
  • Instructional supply funds for his/her school

The NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year Runner-up will receive:

  • $2,000 cash prize

Finalists will receive:

  • Travel expenses and substitute costs to participate in NCCAT professional development week March 6-10, 2023.

“We appreciate the enthusiastic response from all over the state for the Beginning Teacher of the Year Award,” said NCCAT Executive Director M. Brock Womble. “These finalists provide a snapshot of the lasting impact great teachers have on our students from the first to the last day they step into a North Carolina public school. We are excited about this opportunity to honor teachers for the important work they do in our state.”

For more information about the NCCAT Beginning Teacher of the Year program, visit