Highlands School names ‘Teacher of the Year’

Every year, before the new school year starts up, school personnel in the Macon County School system name a co-worker Teacher of the Year.

This year, Highlands School picked Dave Cashion who is the Vocational and Industrial Technology Teacher

Dave tells his story:

“What an honor to be voted teacher of the year by the faculty of Highlands School. I have taught at Highlands School 37 years. I had previously taught at High Point Central (NC) after graduating Western Carolina University in the Fall of 1980. I taught there for a year and a half before coming back to the mountains.

“Since being at Highlands I have taught several subjects, woodworking, drafting, electricity, ceramics, basic automotive and graphic arts.

“When I first started here, there was one long hallway starting with the Office and ending with the Kindergarten classrooms. A fond memory is of Larry Brooks calling down the hall to load the buses. The intercom was often not working properly. The population grew and we added portable classrooms. The High School wing and Middle School building were built, and later the Annex where the Social studies and Science classes are. A track and soccer fields were added and a new gym.

“Sports were a large part of my early career. I coached wrestling and soccer in High Point. After coming to Highlands, I started out assisting softball, and then I started coaching baseball in 1984. I later coached JV basketball and soccer.

“The biggest change in the educational system has been the digital world. Walkman and basic TR-80 and Apple computers in the ‘80’s were high tech. Now most of our students have iPads for class. Where homeroom attendance was taken with pencil and sent to the office daily, it’s now a push of a button. Parents have access to their children’s grades at any time, not just at report card time. Snow day communication has changed also. Long gone is the manual phone tree where the principal started calling and hopefully everyone received a call within 45 minutes. Now we receive phone calls, texts and emails, and hope everyone receives the message.

“The best part of teaching is of course the kids. It has been a unique experience watching kindergarteners come through the doors with huge excited eyes, and 13 years later exit across the stage at graduation, ready to tackle the world.

“This will be my last year teaching at Highlands, and I will certainly miss all aspects, but it is time for someone younger to take over the program. I hope the lessons and skills taught throughout the years will last my kids for a lifetime.” 

The following is the list of the “Teacher of the Year” selections in the Macon County School System’s 11 schools.

  • Union Academy: Rachel Alford who was also selected at MC Schools 2020 Teacher of the Year
  • Macon Middle School: Scott Burns
  • East Franklin Elementary School: Cieara Gregory
  • Highlands School Dave Cashion
  • Mountain View Intermediate School: Jennifer Nation
  • Cartoogechaye Elementary School: Katrin Rholetter
  • Iotla Valley Elementary School: Sheena Hughes
  • Nantahala School: Jenny McMahan
  • South Macon Elementary School: Christy Passmore
  • Franklin High School: Bob Kuppers
  • Macon Early College: Gary Brown

Pictured at the top of the article is Highlands School Teacher of the Year Dave Cashion with Principal Brian Jetter. Photo by Annette Jenkins

By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper

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