CMS teacher is named finalist for NC teacher of the year - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

CMS teacher is named finalist for NC teacher of the year

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) district teacher James Ford was caught off guard on Friday. He teaches World History at Garinger High School. He was named as a finalist for the NC Teacher of the Year Award. 

The district can't remember a CMS teacher getting this far in this competition.

"It's been a pleasure to watch kids grow," Ford said. "To see where they started from and see how they transition. It feels good to have a small stake and a small part in that."

A committee looked at Ford's dedication, his teaching skills, and his impact in the classroom.

After the surprise announcement, the teacher quickly turned the spotlight on his students.

"You guys inspire me," Ford said. "You guys make me want to get up and come to work every day."

Ford has been teaching in CMS for four years. His students say Ford deserved the award.

"He always motivated me," Garinger HS Student Dang Baric said. "To get good grades - he said Dang, you got a 100, next time get 110. If you get a 110, get 120. Always try to get the best grade you can get at all times."

"Honestly I was in a lost place," Garinger HS Student Danielle Polston said. "And he helped me find the light. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be a senior today. I wouldn't be walking across that stage in June. He is awesome."

Students say Ford not only helps them become a better student, but also better in life.

"Knowing you have someone to lean on," Garinger HS Student Ayana Redfern said. "Even if you don't have parenting at home, you can come to Mr. Ford."

"I call him Uncle Ford," Garinger HS Student Sucely Sanchez said. "And he calls me Neicey. He's given me so much, not only does he educate me - but he gives me lessons I can use at home."

As a finalist Ford wins $5,000, gets his hands of some new technology, and other prizes.  If he is selected as NC teacher of the year, he will have to travel to speak up for the rights of teachers.  He says he would love to do that.

"As a society," Ford said. "We need to reintroduce ourselves to the importance of teaching. The value is not where it should be, but hopefully I would like to be a voice to change that position." 

Ford finds out next spring if he will be selected as NC teacher of the year.

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