Prior to the monthly meeting of the Macon County Board of Education on Monday night, the school board recognized district staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve the children of Macon County.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan and Board Chair Tommy Cabe presented Rita Esterwood, an Allied Health Science Teacher at Franklin High School with the District Teacher of the Year award. According to Dr. Duncan, Esterwood received the award for her work not only as a teacher at Franklin High, but also for her work coaching the high school's cross country team.
“Thank you so much for thinking of me,” said Esterwood. “I am sure that there are so many other teachers who are more deserving of this honor, but I am proud to have been chosen.”
The board also recognized Macon County Schools Child Nutrition Department for earning the HealthierUS School Challenge Gold Award of Distinction from the United States Department of Agriculture.
“The awards have been granted to all four elementary sites: South Macon, Cartoogechaye, East Franklin and Iotla Valley,” said Dr. Duncan. “The HealthierUS School Challenge is a voluntary certification initiative that recognizes schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.”
To date, the awards have been given to school districts in 49 states with a total of 4,317 schools being certified nationwide. Macon County now stands as the first district in North Carolina to receive the Gold Award of Distinction.
Although the award was given to Sherry Held, Child Nutrition Director Macon County Schools, she said that the award was made possible through the total participation by students and the hard work of the directors at each school site.
Held noted that the program required that the school meals reflect good menu planning principles, which emphasize a healthy variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk. Held mentioned that while the program required 70 percent student participation, Macon County students embraced the changes and received the award with 78-80 percent of average lunch participation.