CTE Health Science Educator Kelly Stepp Crowned HCPS Teacher of the Year Amid National Teacher and Nurse Appreciation Week

Mrs. Stepp surrounded by 22 students in her classroom. Everyone is posing for a picture and there are several pink pom poms and signs in the photo.

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (May 10, 2024) – West Henderson High School’s Kelly Stepp was named the district’s Teacher of the Year on Thursday at the award luncheon sponsored by AdventHealth and Boyd Chevrolet.

With five years of dedicated service within Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS), Stepp brings a wealth of experience to her role as a CTE Health Science educator. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University and fulfilled teaching requirements at Isothermal Community College.

Stepp’s role as an educator is unique, as she spent the first 16 years of her professional career as a Labor & Delivery and Pediatric nurse. Her journey from the frontline of healthcare to the forefront of education is a testament to her unwavering commitment to shaping the next generation of healthcare professionals. Since beginning her teaching career at West Henderson, students have achieved a 100% pass rate for the Nurse I exam.

“Ms. Stepp is a gifted educator who brings a wealth of professional experience to the classroom and combines it with her natural teaching ability to provide her students with a first class experience,” shared HCPS Superintendent Mark R. Garrett. “We are excited and proud to see her move forward to represent Henderson County Public Schools as our Teacher of the Year.”

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Stepp serves as the advisor for Future Health Professionals (HOSA), instructs an additional course through Henderson County Virtual Public Schools (HCVPS), and actively coordinates blood drives at the school in collaboration with the Blood Connection.

“My greatest contributions and accomplishments in education have been the meaningful relationships I’ve cultivated with my students over the past five years. Having a teacher that has worked outside of the umbrella of education is invaluable for inspiring and connecting students to a profession in which they have been immersed,” said Stepp as she reflected on her journey into education.

Following Thursday’s reception at The Main Event, Stepp was welcomed back to West Henderson with a parade of students and staff, accompanied by heartfelt handwritten notes expressing appreciation.

Principal Luke Manuel of West Henderson High School shared his genuine pride in Stepp’s recognition, stating, “Ms. Stepp’s commitment to nurturing and empowering her students exemplifies the heart and soul of our mission at West Henderson High School. We are fortunate to have her part of the Falcon Family.”

Like all 23 nominees from each elementary, middle, and high school, Stepp was nominated by her peers for the designation of her school’s Teacher of the Year. Following extensive interviews with a selection committee composed of an administrator, parent, board member, and the previous teacher of the year, Stepp was selected to represent Henderson County Public Schools as its 2024 Teacher of the Year.

The HCPS Teacher of the Year winner will receive a commemorative plaque, an all-expense paid trip to a state education conference of their choice, and $4,500, gifted by Boyd Chevrolet.

Confetti catches Kelly Stepp by surprise as she walks into her classroom.