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Chatham Central’s Paige emerges as district’s Teacher of the Year

BEAR CREEK — The plane touched down at Raleigh-Durham International Airport around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Laurie Paige made it home around 3 a.m.

She woke up at 6 a.m. There was history to teach at Chatham Central High School. No way in the world she’d miss out on that.Chatham Central High School's Laurie Paige is the 2018-19 Chatham County Schools Teacher of the Year

“No. Never,” said Paige, vibrant even on less than three hours of sleep. “Honestly, I was so excited to get back to the classroom.”

When she arrived, there were visitors, Chatham County Schools Superintendent Dr. Derrick D. Jordan among them.

“It is my distinct pleasure to recognize you as Chatham County Schools Teacher of the Year, Ms. Paige. Congratulations,” Jordan announced.

Paige accepted a bouquet of flowers from her superintendent and a roar of praise from her students.

“One of the best teachers I’ve ever had,” Chatham Central student Jay Mashburn said.

“Laurie Paige is a leader,” Chatham Central Principal Dr. Karla Eanes said.  “Laurie Paige is a teacher not just of students but of her colleagues. She challenges us, she pushes us.”

That Chatham County Schools Teachers of the Year positive peer pressure extends beyond Chatham Central, beyond the school district, actually. That’s why Paige was at the airport during the wee hours the other day. She is a national staff developer for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). Paige had been in San Diego receiving training for that work.

AVID is a system of learning that, in part, teaches students how to take notes efficiently and organize them meticulously. That approach is so finely tuned at Chatham Central that the school earned distinction as a national demonstration site for AVID. It means educators from all over the country are poised to show up in Bear Creek to learn how to generate the sort of student success that's happening at Chatham Central.

Paige is Chatham Central’s AVID coordinator and helped establish the program at the school in 2006. She’s been teaching there since 2000 and, all told, has been investing in students as an educator for 19 years.

And even after hopping off a red-eye that brought her across the country from learning more about mining the most out of educators, she insisted on being in front of her students just mere hours after landing.

Skipping school was not an option for her.

“That’s just not what we do,” Paige said.

Published May 1, 2019