“No, you may not go to the bathroom.”

“Alright class, I’m talking, so you should not be…”

“Why don’t we text between classes instead of in class?”

“All chair legs on the floor, please…”

“*Insert cute but ineffective rhyme for getting students’ attention here*”

“Can I wait 50 more minutes to pee?? This class can’t be left alone…”

“What in the world did I just put my hand in???”


You might be a teacher if you say or think the above things on a daily basis. Teachers are America’s unsung heroes who often do not get enough credit or praise for all the things they do, day in and day out, at school and at home, for their students. If you think back on your educational experience, I’m sure you don’t remember how to use the Pythagorean theorem perfectly, or how to find the allegory in Plato’s The Republic, or what day Benjamin Franklin died. But you DO remember the teachers who cared about you more than your test scores, fought for you when everyone else thought you were unreachable, smiled and said good morning/afternoon to you no matter what he/she was going through in his/her personal life, and spent a whole semester/year with you without complaining.

This blog post is for THOSE teachers. The teachers in Rowan County who work 60+ hours a week but still come to school with a smile on their face every day. The teachers in Rowan who chase relentlessly after the kid who everyone deemed a behavior problem because they know there’s potential in them. The teachers in Rowan who spend hours creating engaging lessons that incorporate critical thinking, collaboration, global literacy, essential standards, and technology that are relevant to students’ lives.

Let me tell ya, we are BLESSED to have so many of these types of teachers in Rowan-Salisbury public and private schools! I wish I could spotlight every single one of them, but unfortunately, I can’t, so the following teachers serve as representatives of teachers across the county that are THOSE teachers!


“Those” Teachers Making a Difference


Joshua Yoder, a teacher at North Rowan High School, deserves to be spotlighted because he considers the needs and interests of his students when crafting lessons to challenge them in critical thinking and global awareness. If you entered Mr. Yoder’s class during his World War II unit, you would see his students creating dating sites for World War II dictators. Personally, I wish I would have been part of his class during March Madness, because his students created a presidential playoff bracket with all the U.S. presidents!

Thank you, Mr. Yoder, for thinking of innovative lessons that students talk about long after leaving your room!

Kristen Rocko is a dynamic first-year, third grade teacher at Salisbury Academy. Elizabeth Anderson, the Lower School Division Director, says, “Kristen has an amazing and calming sense of classroom management and is excellent at providing differentiated lessons that are engaging, hands-on, exciting, and creative. The students love these kinds of learning opportunities. Many mornings, you see them with a gleam in their eye as they walk towards their third-grade classroom eagerly anticipating a fulfilling day.”

Thank you, Ms. Rocko, for making your classroom a warm and inviting place where kids want to be!

Kristen Rocko, third grade teacher as Salisbury Academy


Mrs. Traci Jordan is a second grade teacher at Rockwell Elementary who deserves to be celebrated due to her strong relationships with her students! She was recently selected by her colleagues as Teacher of the Year! Her Principal, Jennifer Warden, says “You can feel the positive culture in her room when you step inside. Mrs. Jordan always is willing to try new lessons and activities to engage her students.” Recently, her kids got to review Author’s Purpose with the “Pie in the Face” board game!

Thank you, Mrs. Jordan, for being someone kids know they can count on to care about them and make lessons fun!

Traci Jordan, second grade teacher at Rockwell Elementary


Mr. Robert King III teaches eighth grade science at West Rowan Middle School. One word students use to describe him is amazing. One student said, “Mr. King teaches us in a way to make sure we get it. He also lets us have fun in labs. He’s amazing, fun, and loves us!” One of those labs is a collaborative outside lab where students get to break and smash things (safely) to demonstrate physical and chemical changes.

Thank you, Mr. King, for loving all of your kids and making sure they know it!


Robert King, eighth grade science teacher at West Rowan Middle School

Student Shout-Outs!


Chad Carreon, a sophomore at the Rowan County Early College, wants to give a shout-out to Mr. Jeff Kitchen, Dean of Students. He says, “Mr. Kitchen is a very interactive person. He strengthens bonds with the students by answering questions thoroughly and incorporating his past experiences. My favorite thing he teaches is money management which is essential to our futures. We all look up to him because his values are outstanding!” On the subject of money management, check out our article highlighting the Rowan branch of State Employees Credit Union (SECU). SECU is now providing financial literacy to middle and high school students in our county through the “Reality of Money” simulation.

Chad Carreon, a sophomore at the Rowan County Early College, with Mr. Jeff Kitchen, Dean of Students


Brooke Mitchell, a student at East Rowan High School, says “Mrs. Wyrick is a wonderful teacher who never fails to spread positive energy to teachers and students throughout the school. If you ever see her, she always has a big smile on her face. She encourages students to do the best they can do and makes sure we as students and athletes know we can accomplish anything we put our mind to at school, in the gym, on the track, at home, and in our future. She is someone who many people, counting myself, look up to and will always remember after they leave East Rowan.”

Brooke Mitchell, a student at East Rowan High School, with her teacher Mrs. Wyrick


Yanet Sanchez, a freshman at Jesse C. Carson High School, says, “Mr. J.C. Alexander, my Career Management teacher, is the best because his classroom is a fun place to go every day, and he cares for each and every student deeply. He always encourages us to do better in life and think about our futures.”

Hunter Treece, a fifth grader at Morgan Elementary, wants to give a shout-out to his rockstar teacher, Angie Newman: “I appreciate Mrs. Newman because she helps me get caught up on all my work so that I can go to Middle School. She’s the best teacher I have ever had!”

Hunter Treece, a fifth grader at Morgan Elementary with his teacher, Mrs. Newman


If you’re reading this, you probably have a teacher to thank!

May 5th-11th was national Teacher Appreciation Week, but I encourage you to reach out to some of your favorite teachers this month, past and present, to let them know just how much you appreciate them. It will mean more to them than you know!

If you have a Rowan County educator you’d like to recognize, please fill out the form on the ‘Share Your Story’ page. Your submission could be featured on Your Rowan’s social media.