An area high school teacher was recently named one of the nine best educators in North Carolina.
Fred T. Foard High School math teacher Andy Blevins received the northwest regional teacher of the year award for North Carolina. Blevins will compete with teachers from seven other state regions, as well as a charter school teacher, to receive the North Carolina teacher of the year award.
"I don't really know what to think right now," said Blevins, who has been an educator for 14 years. "I don't think it has sunk in yet."
Blevins was named the 2010-11 Catawba County Schools teacher of the year, and from that award, he advanced as the regional winner.
"Just to be the Catawba County Schools teacher of the year was an honor," Blevins said. "There are so many great teachers here."
Fred T. Foard faculty and staff, as well as CCS interim superintendent Glenn Barger and Brandon Patterson from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction surprised Blevins on Wednesday during what he thought was a faculty meeting.
The meeting, however, was a reception honoring Blevins and all he does for Foard and its students.
"(Blevins) represents the quality of teachers we have here in Catawba County," Barger said. "I look forward to naming him North Carolina teacher of the year."
Patterson said a selection committee came to the finalists' schools and interviewed parents, teachers and students of the prospective regional winners.
"It was a very tough competition," he said.
Patterson announced Blevins' win, and he mentioned some of the responses about Blevins by parents, teachers and students.
"(Blevins) believes he is shortchanging (students) if he doesn't give them his best," Patterson said, quoting one of Blevins' colleagues.
A Foard parent said Blevins had a "heart of gold," while one of Blevins' students called him a "miracle worker" when it comes to teaching math.
Other students described Blevins as diligent, smart and spontaneous.
Blevins said developing relationships with students is what he enjoys most about his job.
"I like the interaction with the students," he said. "It's that relationship you have with them."
Blevins' wife, Jenny, and his parents, Ray and Becky, also attended the reception.
"He always been a perfectionist, and he's always loved school," Becky said.
Ray said he is extremely proud of his son and all that he accomplished, even joking that Blevins "didn't fall far from the tree."
Also in tow during the reception was the Blevins' new son, Elijah.
Blevins and his wife adopted the 2-month-old Friday. Belvins and Jenny were told of Elijah's arrival about four hours before they were supposed to pick him up.
Now, Blevins has to grow accustomed to his duties as a father, as well as his duties as one of the best teachers in the state.