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The Rotary Club of Hickory announced that Mr. Kelly Ruff is the recipient of the 2023-24 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year Award.

Rotary Club of Hickory Announces 2024 Teacher of the Year

On Wednesday, May 15, 2024 The Rotary Club of Hickory announced that Mr. Kelly Ruff is the recipient of the 2023-24 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year Award. Ruff is currently teaching science at Hickory High School.

He was born in Columbus, North Carolina and began teaching science at Hickory High School in 2019. There he teaches AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, Physical Science, and Biology classes. Cyrus Henson, Assistant Principal of Hickory High School says, “Beyond even his content and pedagogical expertise, Mr. Ruff’s greatest skill as an educator is his ability to form relationships with his kids. Be the class non-honors, AP, or something in between, Mr. Ruff’s students consistently are met at the door with his kind, warm smile, and most of the time, they reciprocate that smile. This positive dynamic carries into the classroom, too. He genuinely loves talking with his kids and regularly tells them stories or a corny science joke to keep them engaged.”

Teachers were awarded within their respective schools as a teacher of the year and then nominated for the Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year Award. Kelly Huff was the overall recipient of this accolade. Assistant Principal Henson continued to say, “I have had the privilege of conducting Mr. Ruff’s observations, and some of his most notable characteristics are his respect for diversity, rapport with his kids, and commitment to real-world experiential learning. Moreover, his professional integrity is impeccable, and it is in this vein that I wholeheartedly endorse him as a candidate for the 2024 Wilmer Jenkins Teacher of the Year!”