Meet this year’s Teacher and TA of the Year!

Apex High School recognized two very influential people at our school. Ms. Rozanne Todd was chosen as this year’s Teacher of the Year, and Ms. Janice May was awarded the Teacher Assistant of the Year. Let’s meet these outstanding educators!

Ms. Rozanne Todd is member of our School Improvement Team, Instructional Leadership Team, and Special Programs Department here at Apex High School. After receiving an education degree with an interior design minor from Bowling Green State University, Ms. Todd taught for a few years before she took a break to raise her kids. “While I was off, I made sure to keep busy,” she said, “I was a Video Mystery Shopper, wrote standardized test questions, taught preschool story time, and sold Southern Living decorations.”

Before she obtained a teaching degree, Ms. Todd was actually on track to becoming a Pre-Law major, but she shares, “I knew I loved to help people, so I always had a sneaky feeling I would become a teacher.” Since then, Ms. Todd has been teaching for ten years, and two of her years were spent as a teacher assistant and three as a substitute teacher.

When asked her favorite memory of teaching at Apex High School, there was no way she could narrow it down to one, “I have so many good memories of my teaching years, and they all revolve around my students doing crazy amazing things like graduating early, getting great jobs, or conquering a personal challenge.” She also has so much to say about the Apex High School community, “I love the fabulous Cougar students here.  As a group, you are down-to-earth, compassionate, and just solid teens!  I also enjoy teaching with the truly qualified staff.  Every department is filled with specialists and their mad teaching skills.”

There is so much people can learn from Ms. Todd, and this is what she wants to say to any future educators out there, “All new teachers need to find their “sweet spot” for subject or age level. Once you settle into that, find a way to enjoy moment because this is the best job in the world!”

Principal Diann Kearney had nothing but good things to say about Ms. Todd, “She leads by example inside and outside of her classroom. She is committed to the growth and success of all of her students, and everyone at Apex High School. Ms. Todd willingly devotes time after school, on workdays, and during the summer in outlining our School Improvement Team, and she identifies ways that our SIT can accomplish our school-wide goal of 95% (or higher) graduation rate. Ms. Todd was instrumental in the development and roll-out of our PEAK Performers program, which should not come as a surprise to anyone as Ms. Todd stays PEAK and shares an extra dose of Kindness with everyone!”

“I am very honored and humbled to represent Apex High as the TOY,” Ms. Todd said about being recognized, “I truly don’t believe that I do anything more than so very many in this building, but I am still thankful to receive this award.”

Ms. Janice May is a member of our School Improvement Team and continues to serve the Wake County Teacher Assistant Association. After attending Pfeiffer College and graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in law enforcement, probation, and social work, Ms. May never had any intention of working with kids, and she originally wanted to be a probation officer. However, she said fate had other ideas, “When my daughter was in middle school, I became very active as a parent. Teachers said I should become a substitute teacher, and I did just that; I became a substitute teacher of Apex High School in 2001. I also worked the front desk where I got to know the teachers and students of Apex High School. I remember when I was asked to sub in the Severe and Profound room. I went in, immediately left, and went crying to Michelle Windle that I couldn’t do it. Dr. Windle said I could do it, and she needed me in there. I went back through those doors, and the rest is history!” Since then, Ms. May has been a part of Special ED ever since she became a one-on-one Teacher Assistant in 2005. She was also the Behavior Support TA for eight years and is currently an O.C.S Teacher Assistant.

When asked what one of the highlights of all her hard work was, she remembered a very special moment, “It was during my time as the Behavior Support TA that I experienced one of the highlights here at Apex; seeing one of my “high risk” students graduate after five difficult years. That was the most rewarding time for me. I always attend graduation to support the kids.”

Dr. Kearney is grateful to have someone like Ms. May at Apex High School, “Ms. May willingly shares her perspective as a teacher assistant and member of our Special Programs staff in hopes of positively impacting the experiences of all students but especially students enrolled in Special Programs. She lends a helping hand to those in her department and shares updates with other teacher assistants in an effort to promote the work of TAs and the lines of communication.”

“I’m thrilled to receive this recognition. Teacher assistants sometimes go un-appreciated; this Teacher Assistant of the Year says, we see you, appreciate you, and also brings awareness to all Apex High School teacher assistants,” she said, “and I would encourage anyone entering the education field, whether a teacher or teacher assistant, to be knowledgeable, encouraging to all, patient, have a heart and always a sense of humor.”

We are very proud of Ms. Todd and Ms. May, and we are especially grateful for all they do for the students of Apex High School! A massive congratulations to you both!

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