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Vanguard Charter Academy Teacher Wins Excellence in Teaching Award

Aarika Thomas, seventh- through eighth-grade teacher at Vanguard, was the recipient of National Heritage Academies’ (NHA) annual Excellence in Teaching Award. Thomas had been a finalist for seven consecutive years and was honored as a winner at this year’s celebration.
 
The award, which takes place every year, selects teachers from across the organization for recognition in 11 categories, including kindergarten- through eighth-grade, specials, specialists, and paraprofessionals. The finalists are chosen based on personal evaluations, parent satisfaction, and academic scores, to name a few.
 
“Our Excellence in Teaching awards shine a light on the unsung heroes who are every day making a difference in children’s lives,” NHA CEO Brian Britton said. “I love hearing the stories of joy and passion that our teachers bring to their work – stories that are humbling and truly demonstrate the purpose behind what we do, transform lives. These award winners are so deserving of this recognition, and I am proud to recognize their efforts.”
 
This year, 154 employees were recognized, with 11 final winners. The winners received points through an internal employee recognition program called High Five valued at $3,500, which allow the winner to choose from a variety of goods, plus a $1,000 gift card for classroom supplies, and a plaque.
 
“Aarika has very high expectations of herself and her students,” said Mark Dejong, principal at Vanguard Charter Academy. “Every day she expects the best of herself and her students behaviorally, academically, and socially.”
 
Watch WZZM’s highlight of the surprise celebration here.