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Cumberland County Schools Recognizes Outstanding Teacher Assistant of the Year

April 26, 2024

TA of the Year Accepting AwardCumberland County Schools (CCS) celebrated the dedication and excellence of its teacher assistants at the highly anticipated Teacher Assistant of the Year Reception on April 25, which was held at the Dr. William "Bill" Harrison Educational Resource Center.

The reception honored 10 exceptional teacher assistants, each representing one of the 10 attendance areas within the district. These dedicated individuals were nominated and interviewed by a selection committee, showcasing their commitment to the students and schools they serve.

The winner of the 2023-2024 Teacher Assistant of the Year award was announced during the reception. Joshua Dawson from Ashley Elementary School emerged as the recipient of this esteemed honor.

Dawson, described by his school's principal as someone who is often sought after for advice and feedback, takes initiative to address challenges without constant supervision. "Mr. Dawson demonstrates a commitment to ongoing professional development, staying informed about current educational practices, and seeking growth opportunities," said Sherrill W. Haley, principal of Ashley Elementary School. "He is a true asset to his school."

Among the finalists were:

  • Patricia McMillan from Benjamin Martin Elementary
  • Wanda Dove from Gray's Creek High
  • Oliver "Tim" Horne from Cape Fear High
  • Phyllis Felton from William H. Owen Elementary
  • Tara Whitfield from South View High
  • Phillis Chavis from Stoney Point Elementary
  • Michele Donnelly from E. E. Miller Elementary
  • Denise Miller from Howard Hall Elementary
  • Deborah Short from Warrenwood Elementary


In addition to the recognition, the honoree received a trophy, plaque, $550 and a swag bag as part of his award. The other finalists were also honored with plaques, $50 and swag bags for their outstanding contributions to their schools and communities.

This event was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Frank R. Lopes, Jr. (Ricky) and BIB (Background Investigation Bureau, LLC), who supports the recognition and celebration of excellence in education.

Joshua Dawson, 2023-2024 Teacher Assistant of the YearAttendees enjoy the receptionDr. Connelly shares remarks with attendees