Wilkes County native Heather McNeil Tedder, a French teacher at Watauga High School in Boone since 2007, has been named North Carolina’s Foreign Language Association Teacher of the Year.

Tedder was presented the award at the association’s annual conference the weekend of Oct. 17. She is the daughter of Mike and Donna McNeil of Wilkesboro and is a graduate of Wilkes Central High School.

Comments from fellow teachers were shared about Tedder. One said Tedder believes learning other languages is the best way to learn about other cultures. “Her biggest desire for her students is to show them how they fit into the French-speaking world. Her teaching philosophy is straightforward: get her students to talk; unlock cultures with authentic resources; teach by the modes for proficiency; and use French inside and outside of the classroom.”

Another fellow teacher said, “When Heather joined Watauga High School in 2007, our school offered French 1, 2, and 3. After a few steady years of Heather’s influence and dedication, the program has grown significantly! We now offer French 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, AND 6. And she does it all by herself.”

One of Tedder’s students said, “Madame Tedder has been an incredible source of inspiration…. I cannot imagine where I would be without the care and generous teaching spirit that her classroom provided for four years. The path of the future is carved by those who influence the generations to come.”

Tedder is active in professional organizations and through that learns about activities and ideas to enrich what she already does in the classroom. She often has been selected as a presenter at conferences.

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