The 2021 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of Year award went to fourth-grade Chapel Hill educator Eugenia Floyd.
Floyd, a graduate of East Chapel Hill High, now works in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She began her path as a teacher assistant eight years ago, graduating from UNC Greensboro, then earning her teaching credential from N.C. Central and finally earning a master's degree in gifted education from Elon University in 2020.
As an African American and graduate student of the CHCCS school system, Floyd said she was motivated by her own experiences as a student in the school system, she was faced with what she saw as "low expectations from her teachers."
"As a teacher, I strive to make sure my behavior and academic expectations are high for my students," Floyd said in her Teacher of the Year submission. "I am a true believer that students will do what you expect them to do."
Floyd is described by her colleagues as passionate, focused and willing to tackle equity and racial bias within the school system.
Crystal Epps, the principal of Mary Scroggs Elementary, described her as "an advocate for all her students, and she works tirelessly to make strides to close the achievement gap and dismantle systems and structures that operate with a fixed mindset," in a letter of recommendation.
Floyd was selected from nine finalists representing the nine regional districts of North Carolina.