GWU Alumna Receives Beginning Teacher of the Year Award in McDowell County, N.C.

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Amber Townsend Allen ’17 Applied Strategies to Excel in Her Classroom

Photo of Amber Townsend Allen with per principal, Michelle Baker
Amber Townsend Allen, left, poses with her principal, Michelle Baker, after receiving the Beginning Teacher Award for McDowell County, N.C., Schools.

Through student-teaching experiences and training activities, the Gardner-Webb University School of Education prepares graduates to create a dynamic classroom environment. In her first year of teaching, Amber Townsend Allen ’17 was able to apply these fundamentals and excel in her efforts. Allen was named the McDowell County (N.C.) Schools Beginning Teacher of the Year.

“Receiving the award is unreal,” described the resident of Spruce Pine, N.C. “Although I poured 150 percent of myself into the school year, I felt rather undeserving of this award. I know how amazing the other beginning teachers are and how hard they worked every day for students. I wish everyone could get this award. It is such an amazing honor. I’m not sure why God blesses me the way He does, but I will forever worship Him for the blessings.”

Allen has 17 students in her fourth-grade class at the county’s only year-round school, Eastfield Global Magnet School (EGMS) in Marion, N.C. She believes her success is the result of several factors. The first one being her GWU professors, who emphasized using technology in the classroom and also expected students to do extraordinary work. Dr. Kelly Clark and Dr. Jason Parker helped her gain confidence in her teaching ability. They taught her to ask questions that require students to analyze and evaluate information instead of recall facts.

Amber Allen won the Miss GWU Pageant in 2017
Amber Allen won the Miss GWU Pageant in 2017.

Additionally, her cooperating teacher for student teaching, Robin Scoggins, was a superb role model. “She taught me how to keep the flow of my classroom moving,” Allen praised. “I have often been commended on my classroom management strategies as a first-year teacher, and I give credit to my student-teaching experience. GWU prepared me above and beyond what has been asked of me.”

Besides developing teaching techniques, Allen said the most important thing she’s learned is to show her students love. Her principal, Michelle Baker, is her inspiration. “She is the most amazing woman I have ever met,” Allen affirmed. “She pours her heart and soul into everything she does. The passion she brings to the teaching career is a great role model for me. Also, I can ask anyone at my school for help, and they respond instantly. I love my Eastfield family.”

An outgoing person, Allen was a cheerleader at GWU for four years and won the Miss GWU pageant in 2017. “I truly valued that GWU was not a huge university like other schools,” she assessed. “GWU truly has a family and community feel. I loved that at GWU we were able to openly talk about and worship God, anytime and anywhere. I grew much closer to God during my four years at college. I attended church regularly, and went to the student-led worship services.”

Amber Allen with some of her students
Amber Allen, front left, poses with some of the students in her school in Marion, N.C.

She decided to be a teacher at a young age, believing that God called her into the field of education. “I have always wanted to help and serve children in any way that I can,” Allen stated. “I have logged a ton of volunteer hours in child work, because I love them. Teaching is a ministry, and a call to serve others before yourself. God taught me how to be a good servant to my community in the career of teaching.”