NFHS Announces Teacher of the Year: Erinne Aponte


Aponte dresses up as Frida Kahlo for her students as they learn about Frida Kahlo and her life. Photo by Sydney Jarrard.

Erinne Aponte was one of the several teachers nominated for 2020-2021 Teacher of the Year. When she found out she had been nominated, she was excited. Aponte explained, “I’ve been nominated four times. It’s always nice to be put in a pool of people that you really admire and respect.” After introducing each nominee, Assistant Principal Kim Oliver announced the winner: Erinne Aponte. When she won, she stated she was “Really surprised! Really shocked. I really never thought that I had any kind of, I don’t know, edge over any of the other people. I never really thought that I was doing anything that much more special. And, maybe it’s not. Maybe, it’s just that particular year, or I was on somebody’s radar. I don’t really know, but I didn’t in any way expect to be the winner. I was looking at Mrs. Combs like ‘What? I voted for you.’”

Since 2007, Aponte has been teaching at North Forsyth High School. Originally, she was hired at North Forsyth Middle School. Aponte explained, “I loved teaching at North Middle, but I didn’t like teaching middle school. I was really embraced, really welcomed which is not always common for a new person coming into a place. I figured that if the middle school was so much fun with the people that I worked with then the high school would be fun as well. When I had the opportunity to substitute teach at the high school, I discovered that it was exactly where I should be. It felt very much like home, so I decided to stay”. 

Aponte’s interest in spanish began when she was a freshman in high school, and her love for the language flourished from there. Aponte stated, “Spanish was the only thing in high school I was really passionate about, and when you find something that you’re really good at and you feel like you enjoy it, you don’t want to let that go. So, when I went to college, I had the choice to become either an english teacher, which I figured there were a lot of people that could do that, or a spanish teacher, which is what I chose to do.” There were many reasons why she knew she wanted to become a teacher. Aponte explained, “From the time I was really small I used to take home all the extra photocopies, and I taught my little sister how to read. And, I think it was just kind of in me”. 

From the time she began teaching at an elementary school to now, Aponte’s outlook on teaching has not changed. She explained, “I’m a completely different person from when I started, and yet I still feel that my reasons for teaching haven’t changed. I don’t know if my outlook has changed as much as my circumstances.” As an AP Spanish and Spanish Three teacher, Aponte’s circumstances from middle school Spanish One to now have changed tremendously; however, students feel comforted knowing she is there for them. Aponte stated, “I ask for feedback because giving the kids some sort of a voice in how they acquire this language is important.” 

As the 2020-2021 teacher of the year, Aponte will apply to become teacher of the year for the county. She will represent our school and its teachers in the best way possible. Congratulations, Erinne Aponte.