Frazier named NC Conservation Education Teacher of the Year

By Gail Heathman | Jan 15, 2014
TEACHER OF THE YEAR — Janet Frazier was presented with the North Carolina Elementary Conservation Education Teacher of the Year award.

Janet Frazier, a Haywood County teacher, was honored last week as the 2013 North Carolina Elementary Conservation Education Teacher of the Year. She received the award during the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ annual meeting, held at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Frazier was awarded a plaque and a $300 cash prize by Pamela Stroupe, chairperson of the association’s education committee. She also received $100 from the NCASWCD Auxiliary. The intent of the award is to recognize those teachers doing a great job of teaching conservation.

Frazier was first named Conservation Teacher of the Year last February by the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District. At the time, she was an AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted) teacher at Canton and Bethel Middle Schools. When she learned about the essay, PowerPoint and speech contests offered for middle school students by the Haywood Soil and Conservation District, Frazier whole-heartedly embraced them as exciting learning opportunities for her students.

She also realized how Envirothon, an outdoor environmental competition offered by the district, would enhance what her students were learning. In her second year, she wrote, “I have become enthralled with the vast amount of knowledge that can be gained, and have come to love the idea so much that I am now a team sponsor at two schools.” Frazier ended up with five teams, accompanying those that qualified for the N.C. Envirothon trip to Burlington, North Carolina to compete against 48 other teams from across the state.

In spring 2013, she encouraged her Envirothon team members to attend the District’s YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship) Camp in June so they could continue to learn about the environment together and have fun.

Janet Frazier is a soft-spoken person, not the sort to seek attention for herself. Instead, she makes a positive difference in student performance by being alert to opportunities available to them and encouraging them to get involved in their communities. “Tireless” is one word that has been used to describe Frazier when it comes to making sure students have the support they need to do their best.

Jan Nesbitt, who was the AIG coordinator for Haywood County Schools last year when Frazier received the first award, remarked, “My wish for children is that they all have a Janet Frazier in their lives during their crucial formative years.”

This year Janet Frazier is in a different setting as the media specialist at Central Elementary School in Waynesville. In times past, before libraries became media centers, a librarian may have been pictured shushing students who talked too loudly, but that image hardly fits Frazier. She will more likely be found, among other things, helping students create posters entitled “The  Living Soil” for Haywood SWCD’s current poster contest.

Gail Heathman is the education coordinator for the Haywood Soil and Water Conservation District.