Iredell County STEM Teacher Named N.C. School Hero, Gets $10,000

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (News Release) — Jeff Walker is the kind of teacher that makes engineering classes fun. With his enthusiasm and hands-on experiments, from building simple machines to launching rockets, he creates an engaging and challenging classroom for his students.

Walker, a STEM teacher at Pine Lake Preparatory in Mooresville, enriches the lives of the school’s student body by developing programs like STEM-based engineering classes and coaching the robotics team. He also started a “coffeehouse” open mic night to give students a space to perform in a welcoming environment.

“He greets students with a personal approach and they respect him deeply because they know he respects and cares about them as individuals,” said parent Kristen Sutek, who nominated Walker and is the community relations manager for the school. “Mr. Walker is one of those special teachers who has a life-long impact.”

Walker’s exceptional teaching skills and his dedication to his students and school led to his selection by the N.C. Education Lottery as one of its 10 N.C. School Heroes.

“I believe that success in life hinges on passion,” said Walker. “If you have passion for your job, classes, hobbies, friends and family, all of the rest takes care of itself.”

The North Carolina Education Lottery created the N.C. School Heroes program to showcase the positive impacts teachers, principals, and other school workers have in public schools every day. From 6,000 nominations, ten heroes were chosen with each receiving a $10,000 award and $10,000 for their school.

Walker did a short class for a few elementary students Thursday morning in a STEM classroom. The students, former students, and parents gathered afterward for the presentation and cheered and clapped as their hero received his award.

“There are thousands of heroes like Jeff Walker doing amazing work in our public schools,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Teachers, cafeteria workers, custodians, school resource officers, all make a big difference for our students every day. We’re glad our School Heroes program shines a spotlight on their great work.”

Money raised by the lottery assists many of those School Heroes, including $386 million this year that supports the work of school support staff such as office assistants and custodians. Additional money will help build and repair schools, support the N.C. Pre-K program for “at-risk” four-year-olds, provide college scholarships and grants based on financial need, and help meet school transportation needs. For details on how $10.4 million in lottery funds made a difference in Iredell County, click on the “Impact” section of the lottery’s website,