School of Education alumna named Vance County Teacher of the Year

Sara Lilley, a third grade teacher at Clarke Elementary School in Vance County, was named the district’s 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year.

“It was an unbelievable moment,” Lilley said. “While I was surprised, excited and flattered, I was also humbled. I’m blessed to work with such a wonderful group of educators.  It is quite an honor to receive such a distinction when I consider the talent, skill and experience that daily surrounds me.”

Lilley is in her 11th year of teaching, all with Vance County Schools at Clarke Elementary. Originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Lilley received her undergraduate degree from Campbell University and her graduate degree from NC State University.

Lilley said she’s “very passionate” about watching her students succeed and her goal is “to help prepare them for life beyond the school walls.” Instead of teaching her students what to think, Lilley wants to teach them how to think critically and how to be problem solvers.

“Learning is a wonderful journey that extends throughout our lives, and it is my job as an educator to help inspire a love of learning in each of my students,” Lilley said.

“I have been blessed to work with wonderful teachers and administrators and this honor is a reflection of the countless people who have poured into me as an educator,” she said. “I plan to use this platform to advocate that education equals opportunity. Education is the cornerstone to a thriving society, and when students receive a quality education, they have more opportunities to pursue their career goals, higher education and, most importantly, their dreams.”

“I am forever grateful for the wonderful experience I had at Campbell,” Lilley added. “I frequently use things I learned from my professors at Campbell in my own classroom. The Education program at Campbell is truly one of the best.”

Lilley will now move forward in competing for the regional titles. The North Carolina Teacher of the Year will be announced in the spring of 2021 and selected from the regional winners across the state.