Pollard Middle School intern named statewide Student Teacher of the Year

Pittsboro, NC – James Michael Sapp, a UNC-Chapel Hill 2021 Master of Arts in Teaching graduate who spent the past year interning at Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, has been named the North Carolina Association for Colleges of Teacher Educators’ statewide Student Teacher of the Year.

Margaret Pollard Middle School at edge of Briar Chapel (photo by Gene Galin)

Sapp also received the UNC School of Education’s Student Teacher of the Year for 2021 award based on his student teaching and dedication to his students.

Sapp taught seventh-grade at Pollard.

“Mr. Sapp had a tremendous impact on the students he taught,” said Principal Tristen Perlberg.

“He made his students think and was unafraid to guide them in conversations on difficult subject matter. His students were so engaged, and he encouraged them to be thoughtful in the conclusions they reached.”

Michael Charles, Sapp’s mentor at Pollard, praised his mentee’s teaching abilities in a nomination letter.

“I would like to take a moment to specifically praise Mr. Sapp for his dutiful adherence to the accommodations provided for all of the special-needs students he taught. Mr. Sapp differentiated everything he produced as a student teacher. He collaborated directly with our school’s seventh-grade [exceptional children] teacher in order to ensure these students’ needs were provided for. To my mind, that thoroughness is indicative of a teacher well into their teaching career, let alone one just starting out on the career path.”

Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson also praised Sapp’s work in Chatham County and the effect he had on his students.

“Mr. Sapp is an amazing educator,” Jackson said. “It’s inspiring when you see educators like him who are just beginning their careers create a culture of learning and motivation in their classrooms.”

Sapp is leading his first classroom this fall in his hometown in Western North Carolina.