GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Teachers and other employees from 38 Pitt County schools gathered at Rock Springs on Wednesday for the teacher and employee of the year ceremony.

“I think what happens is people take for granted some of the things that we do and how we serve students,” said Kristi Rhone, assistant superintendent of human relations for Pitt County Schools.

“And so this is a day to let our employees know that this is about them, their commitment, their outfit, their efforts, the things that they have done to make sure that kids are safe. Kids are comfortable, and that kids are learning the things that they do for our kids. This is about them.”

Not only was the event about those that teach in the schools, but also those who allow students to come to class in a sanitized and clean building. Reginald Dixon from Falkland Elementary won the Custodian of the Year award. Other awards given out were for Office Employee of the Year (Dara Wilkins, J.H. Rose), Teacher Assistant of the Year (Monisha Howard, Pitt Academy), School Nutrition Employee of the Year (Kristi Younger, Pactolus) and School Nutrition Manager of the Year (Dianne Joyner, Wellcome Middle).

“I just love what I do, which is all about the children,” said Dixon. “That’s the main thing with me. And even with the shortages that we have, you know, we just keep pushing.”

This year’s Teacher of the Year went to Matt Daniel who teaches fifth grade at Sam D Bundy Elementary School in Farmville. Karen Eberez, a teacher at Hope Middle School, was selected as the runner-up.

“It’s definitely very humbling. A lot of candidates, very deserving candidates, a lot of great people in the room. So I’m really honored. But it’s also nice to be charged, moving on, finishing the rest of the year. And continuing my career,” said Daniel.

Teachers are chosen from a narrowed-down list from each school. It then goes to the Pitt County Schools Central office. From there, the process of class observing to one-on-one conversations helps them pick the winners.

The teacher of the year is also invited to be part of the Board of Directors for the Pitt County Educational Foundation for two years.