Stealing The Show: Renae Hubbard named Teacher of the Year

Claire Reinthaler, News Guest-Writer

Theatre Arts teacher Renae Hubbard took center stage two weeks ago, when she was named the 2021-2022 West Forsyth High School Teacher of the Year.
“It was very evident when I first started here, that she’s a student magnet. The kids gravitated toward her. She [Hubbard] is very much a student-centered, student-led professional,” Principal Kevin Spainhour said.
Every year, West’s staff members vote on a Teacher of the Year. The process starts out with nominations from teachers and administrators, and then it’s put to a vote. For 2021-2022, Hubbard, a West Forsyth teacher of 19 years, was granted this title.
“I just was so shocked,” Hubbard said. “I didn’t think it would happen… normally an arts person doesn’t get it [the award]. That’s special in itself too, an electives teacher getting Teacher of the Year.”
While students aren’t directly involved in the Teacher of the Year election, it’s clear that they do play a part in how staff members decide to vote.
“Although they [other teachers] might not see Ms. Hubbard’s classroom often, they hear the students commenting about Ms. Hubbard’s classroom,” Spainhour said. “I do believe that our teachers use that kind of student feedback.”
Since the announcement of her win, Hubbard has gotten many positive comments and feedback from her students and fellow teachers.
“I try not to cry every time someone says ‘you deserve it,’” Hubbard said. “But the praise has been overwhelming, and the support of the students and the staff, it’s been so great.”
Being Teacher of the Year isn’t all fun and games though. Most people don’t realize that there’s a lot of hard work that goes into representing West, as the Teacher of the Year from each school in the country competes against all the others for an overall Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Teacher of the Year title. It requires an extensive amount of paperwork and a lot of dedication.
“I think the celebration will come after I do all the work that I have to now do. We have to write essays and we have to turn in a resume and do this paperwork to turn into the county level. So I think once the paperwork’s done, I think that’s when I’m going to celebrate,” Hubbard said.
It was Hubbard’s special way of connecting with students, however, that made her fellow staff members agree she was qualified to represent them.
“[Hubbard] has a unique way of building that student rapport while also maintaining high expectations and getting students to meet those expectations,” Spainhour said. “She strikes a great balance between a student-first teacher that maintains expectations and a commitment to excellence.”
Hubbard’s fellow teachers aren’t the only ones who think highly of her. Her students believe she’s a great educator as well.
“She [Hubbard] makes theatre really fun, which I feel like is a really hard thing to do,” freshman Eliott Wait said. “She makes everyone feel included. She’s really funny, which is great. It’s just fun to be in her class and it’s probably one of my favorite parts of the day.”
Students acknowledge that Hubbard’s welcoming personality is one of her most admirable qualities.
“What’s really great about Ms. Hubbard is that she’s a person you can go to when you’re having trouble. She’ll listen to you. She’s also just a good teacher… she’s good at what she does and it shows,” senior Andrea Villamarin said.
From seniors to freshmen, everyone agrees.
“She has a very good work ethic, very good with the students, and is a very likable teacher,” freshman Jayden Moore said. “What makes her so good at her job is just her ability to connect with the students…That’s what makes Ms. Hubbard special.”
It’s clear that the entire West Forsyth community believes that Hubbard embodies the ideals of a great teacher.