Cato College of Education alumna Bonnie Roop ’19 is the 2019 North Carolina Student Teacher of the Year.
Roop, who student taught at Kannapolis Middle School before being hired full-time at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Charlotte, is described as a nurturing educator and careful planner who uses research-based practices and focuses on the individual needs of her students.
Roop’s field supervisor said her “persistence in making her students feel cared for, believed in, and successful” was evident from the beginning.
Cindy Kellar, Roop’s clinical educator, echoed this sentiment, saying she “[went] above and beyond to create a positive learning atmosphere.”
Roop married and had children shortly after she graduated from high school, going on to earn an associate degree from Rowan Cabarrus Community College. She had been working as a substitute teacher and teacher’s assistant for several years when a meeting with a student teacher from UNC Charlotte helped push her career forward.
“I told him I always wanted to be a teacher but was too old,” she explained. “He told me ‘you’re never too old’ and encouraged me to go through UNC Charlotte as they have an amazing education department. Because of his encouragement and confidence in me, I decided to go back.”
Roop describes her pursuit of a teaching degree at UNC Charlotte as “the best decision [she] ever made.”
“From my first class at the Cato College of Education, I was surrounded by people who did not just want to teach the content but to help children, and to make a difference in their lives,” she said.
The NC Student Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. It is the second straight year a UNC Charlotte student has earned the honor. Alumna Makayla Church won the award in 2018.