WAXHAW, NC – Over four-hundred shout-outs were submitted online by students, honoring finalists for the Union County Public School Teacher of the Year. Normally the award is held at a banquet, but due to COVID-19, a virtual announcement was held online as candidates voiced their appreciation at having been nominated and dedication to the craft of teaching and instructing students.
When Dareion Malone was announced as the 2020-2021 UCPS Teacher of the Year, he thanked his creator for allowing him to be able to do the work he feels led to do. Honoring the memory of his grandmother, Lizzie Malone, who was a sharecropper in Mississippi, Dareion mentioned that she was the one who drove him to and paid for his piano lessons as a kid. “And it was her sacrifice that placed me on this path of leadership and music of now more than thirty years.” He considers his students the reason he teaches every day and makes a “conscious decision to be the best version of myself.”
A choral music teacher at Marvin Ridge High in Waxhaw, NC, Dareion graduated from Rust College and UNC Charlotte, and has been an educator since 2013. He has performed around the world, including Africa and Europe, and has shared performances with music legends such as Dolly Parton and Celine Dion. He is also the founder and co-artistic director of Sine Nomine Vocal Ensemble. “We are a group that performs unconducted. We usually choose a person that will prepare the work for the ensemble and we perform it unconducted,” he said of Sine Nomine. Without relying on a conductor, vocalists take risk with the skills they have learned. This organic group effort makes music in a way that is not entirely directed. The ensemble carries out Dareion’s vision of “bridging the gaps between academia and the community” of Charlotte.
Listed below were this year’s finalists, selected from a pool of 53:
Lindsey Weycker – Cutherbertson High
Dareion Malone – Marvin Ridge High
Coleen Owens – Health Sciences Academy at Monroe Middle
Tiffany Medford – Piedmont High
Ashley Puscheck – Prospect Elementary
Christina Worrall – Sandy Ridge Elementary
Erika Murray – Sardis Elementary
Kimberly Castner – Stallings Elementary
Jenna Sweet – Weddington Middle
Martin Hughes – Western Union Elementary
Congratulations to Dareion Malone for the honor of being named the UCPS Teacher of the Year for 2020-2021.