Caroline Olson Named Wake County 2022-23 Teacher of the Year
A Broughton High School special education teacher has been named Wake County’s top teacher just six years after being named one of its top new educators.
Caroline Olson, an extended content standards teacher at Broughton High, was named the Wake County School System’s 2022-23 Teacher of the Year in a ceremony Wednesday at the Raleigh Convention Center. In 2016, Olson won the Diane Kent-Parker Wake First Grade Teacher Award for Special Education.
Olson, 29, has been a special education teacher at Raleigh Magnetic School since 2015. She wrote in her Teacher of the Year portfolio about how she uses a variety of strategies and learns about her students’ interests. to increase engagement and motivate them to meet academic goals.
“The students who are in my class are capable of so much,” Olson said in his Teacher of the Year finalist video. “They have dreams and they have goals that they are definitely capable of achieving.
“I’m just there to guide them and help give them the tools they need to be able to be who they want to be.”
Olson sets aside 30 minutes a day for students to do activities that “fill them.” These activities include reading, doing puzzles, talking with classmates or their teachers, drawing, and playing board games.
She thanked her students in her acceptance speech, calling them her “why” for being a teacher.
“Thank you for loving me and growing with me over the years,” Olson said. “Thank you for inspiring me to approach challenges with humble confidence, positive spirit and resilient determination.
“I am so honored to be part of your journey and to have you on mine.”
Broughton held a celebration Thursday for Olson, who is also the school’s women’s soccer coach.
A master teacher
In addition to his work at Broughton, Olson is already taking on a leadership role in the state.
Olson serves on State Superintendent Catherine Truitt’s Teacher Leadership Council. She also served as a program writer for the North Carolina Department of Instruction.
Olson was a Kenan Fellow for Teacher Leadership in 2019-20.
During his speech Wednesday, Olson told his fellow teachers not to be too hard on themselves. She encouraged them to celebrate their victories, no matter how small, to take care of themselves and to show their students that they love them every day.
“What I’ve discovered through this process is that being an exceptional educator doesn’t mean having it all together or getting close to what we consider perfection,” Olson said. “On the contrary, an exceptional educator means that when you make mistakes – the ones we will all make at some point – you don’t just learn a personal lesson.
“But you use the insights you gain from this experience to support those around you who could benefit from your knowledge.”
This is the second time in recent years that a Broughton educator has been named Wake’s Teacher of the Year. Betsy Graves, Broughton’s dance director, has been named the district’s 2017-18 teacher of the year.
Olson was chosen as one of the Teacher of the Year winners for each school. The list was narrowed down to 10 finalists announced in April.
Olson will receive a prize package including a check for $1,000. She will represent Wake County in the North Carolina Teacher of the Year program.
This story was originally published May 11, 2022 8:42 p.m.