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Onslow Teacher & Student Honored

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Swansboro Elementary School has two new reasons to be proud. Mary Brooks, the Lead Exceptional Children Teacher at Swansboro Elementary School, has been selected Onslow County Schools’ Exceptional Teacher of the Year. Her fifth grade student, Damien Hicks was named EC Student of the year.

The honors were announced Wednesday, February 26 at Infant of Prague during a Knights of Columbus banquet. The event is held annually to recognize and thank Jacksonville area exceptional children teachers for their service.

Brooks was nominated by her Principal Lisa Peele and has been a K-fifth grade EC teacher at Swansboro Elementary since 2009.

She has taught students at all grade levels and has been recognized as a North Carolina School Improvement Project Teacher for the past three years. In 2013 she was nominated for the Onslow Commission for Persons with Disabilities Excellence in Special Education Award.

Peele says, "Brooks can create an atmosphere where parents feel comfortable, not overwhelmed or intimidated, and she makes sure everyone is on the same page. She has a way of communicating with them that this is a partnership, they are a part of the decision making process.”

Hicks was honored with a special plaque during the banquet. He has been a student of Brooks' since the third grade and she said he has grown, “leaps and bounds across the board, socially, academically.”

Hicks said he was very surprised by the recognition. “It is such an honor,” he said. “I thank Miss Brooks for teaching me all the stuff she has.” He admits he didn’t like math much.“But Miss Brooks helped, and now I’m getting better at it.”

Brooks will be recognized at the North Carolina Conference on Exceptional Children this fall.

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